WELLINGTON, Ohio — Former President Donald Trump returned to campaign mode in fine form at a rally sponsored by his Save America PAC at the Lorain County Fairgrounds in Ohio on Saturday night.
A wildly enthusiastic crowd of an estimated 15,000, many clad in Trump gear and wearing the trademark red MAGA hats, waited for hours in the hot summer sun to hear from the former president after a three-hour performance by local rock group, Wet Lemons, and warmup speakers that included Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), and GOP congressional candidates Max Miller, a former Trump aide running in Ohio’s 16th Congressional District, and Mike Carey, an Army veteran and coal industry executive running in Ohio’s 16th Congressional District.
The crowd rose to its feet as Trump walked out, holding red MAGA hats, which he threw out to the crowd before beginning his speech.
The former president was clearly enjoying himself as he began his remarks by ripping the Biden administration for its handling of the border crisis, its weakness in foreign policy, and its efforts to push Critical Race Theory in the military.
The enthusiastic crowd responded with loud cheers to virtually every statement the former president made throughout the hour and a half long speech, which began at 8:00 p.m. ET and ended at 9:30 p.m. ET.
The only disruption came about 15 minutes into the former president’s talk when a large portion of the crowd that was outside of the fences enclosing the small main venue — where several thousand were seated in relative comfort with a good view of the former president — began chanting, “Trump on Screen.” Ten minutes after the chants began, Trump appeared on the Jumbotrons on either side of the stage, to the cheers of the crowd.
Trump’s attacks on the Biden administration were direct and critical.
“After five months, the Biden administration is a complete disaster,” he began.
The crowd roared.
“I told you so,” he continued.
The crowd roared again.
“Critical Race Theory is being forced on our military. Our nation is being destroyed right before our very eyes,” Trump continued.
“Joe Biden is doing exactly the opposite of what we did [on the border],” he continued.
“Biden has violated his constitutional oath,” the former president added emphatically.
Trump paused and then addressed the media, which was in a pen just beyond the main venue.
“Do you miss me?” he asked, then paused. “They miss me,” he told the crowd, who cheered.
Trump made repeated references to “the fake media” throughout the evening, pointing to the media pen. The crowd responded each time by turning to shout at the media, both verbally and with a creative array of hand gestures.
The former president repeatedly stated that the 2020 election was stolen and pointed to ongoing efforts to examine the 2020 election.
The challenge now, the former president said, is to win the 2022 midterm elections.
“We will take back the House, we will take back the Senate, and we will take back America,” he said.
He singled out state legislators in Pennsylvania, Arizona, Wisconsin, and Georgia for praise but criticized what he called the RINO leadership of the Michigan state Senate for failing to act.
One of the main themes of the night was to highlight the president’s support for the two congressional candidates in Ohio he has endorsed, Max Miller and Mike Casey.
Trump singled out Miller’s opponent for criticism, current Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH-16), whom he said is a RINO who had been asked to resign by the Ohio Republican Party after he joined nine other Republicans who voted to impeach the former president a second time earlier this year.
Trump also singled out Vice President Kamala Harris for criticism.
“She only went to the border yesterday because I said I was going to go,” he noted.
During the speech, Trump asked the crowd if they wanted to hear his telling of the classic tale “The Snake,” made famous by his 2016 and 2020 campaign rallies. The crowd cheered its approval, much to the former president’s delight, and he regaled the crowd by telling the story.
Trump ended his speech with a Churchillian flourish.
“Our movement is far from over. In fact, our movement has just begun,” Trump said.
“We will never bend … We will never surrender. We will NEVER surrender,” he added. He closed with his classic lines from his presidential campaigns.
“We will make America powerful again. We will make America great again,” he ended.