Donald Trump delivered the most optimistic speech of his campaign so far Thursday afternoon to a friendly audience in the city of Las Vegas.
Joined onstage at various times by his two adult sons and also by Las Vegas police officers, Trump received massive ovations throughout the rally, which was held indoors in a packed room at the South Point Hotel on the Vegas Strip.
“It’s a phenomenon,” Trump said. “No matter where we go, it’s this. It’s people like this. We love our country,” Trump said. “It’s very sad what’s happening and we’re going to turn it around.”
“Soon, we’re going to be extremely happy with results.”
Trump devoted an adequate amount of time to Senator Ted Cruz, who has recently battled him in some polls, and said Trump is being backed by the GOP establishment. “I’ve become establishment? Oh, give me a break. Bob Dole said Trump will do better than Cruz. Trust me, I will do better than Cruz,” Trump responded.
“When he talks, he talks like he’s debating,” Trump said of Cruz. “But he can’t just talk. You have to be able to talk sometimes, too, folks.”
“It came out ten minutes ago,” Trump said of the latest poll in Iowa. “Trump 33, Cruz 23.” Trump was referring to the CNN poll. He was off by a couple points. He’s actually four points higher. It’s Trump 37. Cruz 26.
“Cruz has had a hard time. He looks like a nervous wreck. He had his moment but he blew it,” Trump said, noting that Sarah Palin helped Cruz to win his Texas Senate election in 2012. “If it wasn’t for Sarah Palin, he wouldn’t be a senator even. He was at two percent and then Sarah got involved and then he became a senator.”
Trump went after former Cruz communications director Amanda Carpenter, who is now on CNN, for saying that he needs to win by a certain margin in Iowa. “I’ll take a win by one vote, folks.”
“They’re not real tough guys. They’re phony tough guys,” Trump said of his Republican politician rivals. “It’s one thing to be a tough guy. But you have to be able to get along with people.”
“I was a young guy, I helped Ronald Reagan, I really liked him. Ronald Reagan would sit down with Tip O’Neill and they made great deals for everybody. We can be tough, but at some point we really have to do something. We really have to do something.”
Then he turned to Hillary Clinton, and scored the event’s most massive ovation. “I’m going to beat her so easily. I haven’t even started on her yet. I haven’t even started.”
There was only one small interruption in the crowd, caused by a young woman as soon as Trump started talking about the Middle East. That’s the point at which similar interruptions have been made during Trump speeches.
The activist group Code Pink took credit for the interruption on social media. And yet, nobody ever interrupts Madea Benjamin, whom this reporter frequently spots at a favorite D.C. coffee shop in between her busy schedule of interrupting events.
Trump challenged photographers in the audience to look at the size of his crowd. “Look at this,” Trump said of a crowd of cameras in the back of the room. “It’s like the Academy Awards.”
“This wacko Bernie Sanders,” Trump said to a chorus of boos, “wants to bring your taxes to 90 percent.”
He brought his two sons up to the podium.
“He’s always been there for us, and he’s going to be there for you guys,” said Donald Trump, Jr. “Thank you so much for your support. It means the world to my family,” said Eric Trump to a massive ovation.
“They’re good guys, and they’re members of the NRA actually,” Trump said. “We’re going to save the Second Amendment.”
Trump shifted attention over to the cops. “Six months ago, they called me. This is how it all started. I went to the border in Laredo, Texas. They’re being told ‘Stand back.’ They can’t do their job,” Trump said of law enforcement officers on the border. “No more.”
“They have been abused. These are great people. The police are great people. They’ve been abused. These are amazing, great people. Everybody has to respect law and order. Otherwise, we don’t have a country,” Trump said. “Our Founders were very smart people.”
“No more Common Core. These clowns like Jeb Bush, they want Common Core. Educate your children based on the bureaucrats in Washington, who are looking out for their own profits?”
“We spend more money per pupil than any country in the world. And we’re number 28 in education. Third World countries are ahead of us in education. No more Common Core. We are going to educate our children.”
Trump also praised legendary Oakland A’s owner Charlie Finley, who built a three-time World Series team with a low budget.