LAS VEGAS, Nevada – Republican candidate Donald Trump addressed the FreedomFest conference in Las Vegas, telling delegates of his underestimated wealth, his passion for securing America’s border, the slanted portrayal of him in the mainstream media, and how he believes that China and Mexico have “smarter leaders” than the United States.
Some libertarians, who the conference is aimed at, believed that Trump would receive a hostile reception at FreedomFest. But the crowd was generally supportive, or at least open-minded, to Trump’s run. One delegate told Breitbart London, “He doesn’t pretend to be anything. People were surprisingly supportive of him.”
Trump began with a few jokes, including one about speaking at the Biltmore resort in Arizona tonight, which he says can no longer accommodate his event because of extraordinary demand from thousands of members of the public. “I’d have to do outside… and my hair would fly around… but it is my real hair,” he joked.
The crowd warmed, giving him the opportunity to lunge into an unscripted, no-notes speech about the biased media, his political opponents, and even companies like Univision and NBC who have attacked Trump publicly, severing links with his companies.
Despite his impassioned plea for treating American veterans better – which drew massive applause – the most moving moment was when he invited Jamiel Shaw Sr. on stage. Shaw Sr.’s son was murdered in 2008 in a black neighbourhood by an illegal immigrant. He took multiple gun shots to the head and chest, and Shaw Sr. mimicked his son’s dying moments on stage, putting his hands up to his face. He called it “the original hands up, don’t shoot.”
Shaw Sr. said that Mr Trump’s interventions on the issue were pivotal, effectively endorsing his candidacy on stage. He said: “I trust Donald Trump because if he can put himself out there like that… for us… then I can trust him.”
Trump told the audience that one of the things that came out of the press conference last night was that the police were strong and good until they found out it was an illegal immigrant who had killed Shaw Sr.’s son. They took it easy on the perpetrator from then on.
The majority of Trump’s speech was based on business, wealth creation, trade negotiation, and immigration.
On his own business, he warned his political opponents and detractors that when his FEC filings are published next week they’ll find, “I’m much richer [than people think]… you’ll see next week,” he said.
On wealth creation and jobs, he spoke passionately about how there should be more jobs in the U.S. instead of calling a company’s customer service line and ending up with someone in New Delhi.
On trade negotiation, he warned that Mexican, Chinese, and Iranian negotiators were much smarter than our own, particularly picking on Carolyn Kennedy, Obama-appointee to the Ambassadorship to Japan. He said that Obama’s appointees were getting killed in the field of negotiation, and that he could do a better job. “I know people… horrible people… you wouldn’t want to have dinner with… but they’re great at what they do [negotiate]”.
On immigration, he talked up a wall for the U.S.-Mexico border and directly accused the Mexican government of intentionally, “sending us their problems.”
“I love the Mexican people… The problem is their leaders are much smarter than ours…” he repined. “I love people to come into the country legally,” he said, before attacking a commonly held libertarian viewpoint that illegal immigration is to be tolerated.
Trump spoke of how Tea Party supporters have been disparaged for years: “The Tea Party has such power and they always get trivialized… that’s what’s happening with me.” He mentioned later on that his comments are only ever half-reported. He focused particularly on the mainstream media which claimed he said, “the American Dream is dead,” without adding the next sentence he said at the time – about his plans to make it bigger, stronger, and better than ever.
Meanwhile, he noted, Hillary Clinton is being subpoenaed by the United States Congress and still somehow failed to disclose her e-mails. She was “the worst secretary of state in the history of the country,” he boomed – claiming that she would not bring back trade or jobs.
But he saved he best of his excoriating remarks for President Obama, “Obama gets along with nobody. The whole world hates us [as a result of him]”
In a clear attack against the political establishment, including Republican candidate Jeb Bush, he said, “Every single person who gave Jeb Bush and Hillary money has something lined up, and it’s not necessarily and probably not at all to the benefit of [the American people]. Special interests, lobbyists, donors, they all get something.” He told how his own personal wealth would mean he didn’t owe donors anything – he pointed to Jeb as an example of where a candidate or president could be steered by the money men and women behind him.
He closed on questions from the audience, one of them from a Mexican immigrant who attacked his policy on building a wall across the border. Trump doesn’t handle criticism all that well, but his argument stacked up enough that his talking over the question didn’t matter to most in the audience: “I would build a wall between this country and Mexico… I would encourage legal immigration… but what I don’t encourage is people coming here illegally.”
His takeaway was simple: “I’m going to bring back our jobs, and I thought that was going to be my strength. And it is my strength. But we have to secure the border.”
“We don’t have victories anymore, we used to have victories, and my whole thing is I’m going to make America great again.”
Follow Raheem Kassam on Twitter @RaheemKassam and Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana
Photo credit: Dan Fluette