Donald Trump upstaged President Barack Obama’s anti-gun TV-event on CNN, even though protestors repeatedly interrupted his speech to a capacity crowd of 1,400 enthusiastic supporters here at the Flynn Center in Burlington, Vermont.
As Obama was conducting his scripted TV-pitch to promote his unpopular and unconstitutional anti-gun regulations, Trump hit back twice as hard.
“I will get rid of gun-free zones in schools — you have to — and on military bases on my first day. It gets signed. My first day – there’s no more gun-free zones,” Trump told his cheering audience.
The upbeat real-estate billionaire appeared to relish dealing with the protestors. “Get them out,” he boomed, as his security team quickly escorted the protesters into the cold Vermont night outside the center.
“I knew I was going to have some [protesters] in Vermont. If we didn’t have that, it wouldn’t be Vermont. Why do you think the other Republicans are not coming up?” he told the crowd as it chanted, “Trump! Trump! Trump!”
“I don’t think we can be beaten. There’s a momentum that we have,” he said, just as one protester shouted out a barely heard obscenity at him. “Take him out!” Trump told his security team.
“That was a mild protester,” Trump said during one interruption. “Honestly they’re very rude, but isn’t it more fun this way!” he said as another protester was quickly ushered out. “Nobody’s falling asleep right now. But, they’re so rude,” he added.
When another protester interrupted, Trump pointed out that the protests, which appeared to be sequenced, were really a bit “theatrical,” but cautioned that no-one needed to get hurt. “Get him out. Get him out,” he then told his security team.
“It’s fun. Get him out. It’s sort of fun. Isn’t this more exciting?” he asked the crowd. “You go to a Hillary thing, it’s boring. Go to a Jeb Bush event, you fall asleep,” he said.
“Their voice is so weak I don’t even hear them. You can get them out,” he said during another interruption.
He then made fun of Vermont’s own Sen. Bernie Sanders, the 74-year old die hard progressive and committed socialist who is challenging Hillary Clinton for the Democratic Presidential nomination. “Oh, I would love to run against Bernie,” Trump said during the rally.
“We all like Bernie,” he added, before criticizing his weakness on the campaign trail.
“How about when the two young women took over his microphone, and he retreated… that wont’ happen with me, I promise,” Trump said. “When they took over that microphone screaming at him he was petrified,” he added.
“I lost so much respect for Bernie. That was dumb. We can’t let anyone take over the microphone!”
Trump worked the audience’s enthusiasm.
“Build the wall!” one audience member shouted. “We’re going to build the wall,” Trump responded.
“Who’s going to pay for the wall?” he asked the crowd. “Mexico!” the crowd roared back.
Clearly enjoying the response, Trump asked again. “Who’s going to pay for the wall?”
“Mexico!” they answered again.
“Who’s going to pay for the wall?” Trump asked a third time. “Mexico!” the crowd responded again.
“I like that, “ Trump said, noting that it’s the first time he’s asked that at any of his rallies.
“I’ll always be thinking of Vermont when I do that in other rallies,” he told the crowd.
“Who’s not going to pay for the wall?” he asked rhetorically, answering “Vermont.”
The local Gannet owned newspaper, the Burlington Free Press, has been reporting on the “problem” caused by the Trump campaign issuing 20,000 tickets to a venue that has a capacity for only 1,400. In the hour immediately before the rally, the Gannett-owned Free Press complained that “The Donald Trump campaign is refusing to admit anyone who isn’t a Trump supporter to his speech Thursday night in Burlington.”
“Campaign staff are asking people at the door of the Flynn Center whether they back the New York billionaire businessman’s campaign for the Republican nomination. If people answer anything but yes, they are turned away. Police officers are escorting people out of the building,” the Free Press reported.
In typical Trump style, the candidate began his speech by describing his lead in the polls. “In Vermont…I’m number one by a lot. 32 percent,” he said, to resounding cheers from the audience.
“NBC did a big poll, 35 percent by far number one….today Reuters, 43 percent,” he added. “We’re winning in Iowa 33 to 20 in a new CNN poll,” he said.
Trump tailored his remarks to the Green Mountain state audience. “We’re in Vermont, the air is so nice and clean,” he said. “I went outside there were like 20,000 people, we can’t get them in,” he noted.
Trump also made fun of all his GOP challengers. “They’re afraid to come up here [to Vermont] because it has a tendency to be a little liberal. I think I’m the only one coming up,” he said.
“I’m here because you people are great. I have a friend in my campaign very attuned to Vermont,” he said. That friend encouraged him to come and visit the state, and Trump said he was delighted to follow that advice, which he believe will pay off on March 1, when Vermont holds its GOP Presidential primary.
“I think people are going to remember [that I’m the only candidate to come to Vermont] when it comes time to pull that little lever,” he added.
Trump also delivered a number of policy related punches.
“Barack Obama is the single worst thing that’s ever happened to Israel,” he said before turning his attention to the problem of radical Islamic terrorism.
“I have many friends, they’re Muslims, they’re fantastic people,” but “we can’t have people flying into the World Trade Center. We can’t have people doing what they did in Paris, what they recently did in California,” he said.
The problem of radical Islamic terrorism—words that President Obama won’t even utter—must be dealt with from a position of strength, Trump said.
Trump then relayed a story he said he first heard from Boston radio talk show king Howie Carr, a Breitbart News contributor.
“You know Howie Carr. Howie Carr’s a great guy. A fantastic guy,” Trump began before telling the story of a New Hampshire woman who has a permit to carry a gun, supports his presidential candidacy, and recently used her gun in self defense.
“This woman, these are the people I love, she has a permit to carry a gun. [This criminal] he breaks in to her place, and she shoots him. Doesn’t kill him, which is a good thing. He goes to the hospital. It’s such a beautiful story.We need our guns.”
Trump closed the rally on his recurring theme of strength. “We’re going back to strength in this country. We’re going back to intelligence in this country. We’re going back to common sense in this country,” he concluded, to wild applause.