By Jill Osborn
ROCK HILL, S.C. – Traffic was bumper to bumper as almost 6,100 people packed into Winthrop Coliseum to hear Donald Trump speak at his rally Friday night. Most were supporters and others were interested in all the hype surrounding Trump.
Trump commented on the traffic still lined up outside. Joking, he said, “Should we wait or get started? What the hell, let’s get started.” His candor immediately drew laughter from the crowd.
Trump’s humor was prevalent throughout his speech, even when talking about serious current events such as China or the recapture of El Chapo. “The rumor is, he didn’t like me.”
Another topic Trump touched on was gun rights. He was unequivocal in his position, “The 2nd amendment will totally, totally be protected.”
During other times in the rally, the crowd began to chant “Trump, Trump,” and “U-S-A, U-S-A.” The chants began each time a protester was escorted out. Four hecklers made themselves known.
Perhaps the most memorable was a woman who stood wearing a burqa with a message printed on the front, “Salam, I come in peace.” According to CNN, the woman is Rose Hamid, a 56-year-old flight attendant.
Once again, Trump joked about the hecklers by saying, “Isn’t a Trump rally more fun?” But while he is confident in his humor, he is equally pointed in his message. Making it clear how he stood on the fanatical ISIS, he stated, “We are going to knock the s— out of ISIS.”
The crowd seemed to appreciate the pull-no-punches attitude, rocking the stadium with cheers.
In addition to gun control and ISIS, another topic that ignited the crowd’s appreciation was about wounded veterans. They cheered with fervor as Trump spoke about the need for helping wounded veterans.
When Trump called Hillary Clinton a liar and mocked her for reading from a teleprompter during her speeches, the crowd clapped. “I just use notes,” Trump said with an air of confidence as he held up a paper with his list of bullet points. From the start, however, it seemed Trump knew his message well enough that even his notes weren’t necessary.
The crowd also responded to Trump’s stance on Obamacare. “Obamacare is the biggest disaster. Biggest disaster.” His emphatic message again drew a huge round of applause. “Obamacare will be repealed.”
The loudest cheers of the evening came when Trump spoke about the wall he wants to build on the U.S.-Mexican border.
“We’re going to build a wall so high,” Trump said as he looked skyward. “Mexico’s going to pay for the wall.” Rousing the crowd, he yelled, “Who’s going to pay for the wall?”
The crowd yelled back, “Mexico!” He yelled the same question again, each time with more enthusiasm. Each time, the crowd reciprocated with keen approval.
The droves of Americans attending a rally to see this presidential candidate should certainly be noteworthy to Trump’s opponents. Even local Congressman Mick Mulvaney, who publicly supports Rand Paul, came to see Trump.
“I told Rand, South Carolina is looking for the most passionate and angriest candidate,” Mulvaney said. “I tried to get back there to talk to Trump, but I couldn’t go see him because they said I had not been vetted. They wanded me. Listen, I don’t get wanded when I go see the president.”
Trump is holding a rally Saturday in Ottumwa, Iowa where thousands lined up in the bitter cold temperatures.