New York businessman Donald Trump told thousands of supporters Monday night in Texas that there’s no turning back on his rebellious run for the White House.
Trump, the front-runner in the GOP race and controversial former reality TV star, told Texans Monday night that he has sacrificed a number of business opportunities to pursue his 2016 presidential bid.
“We’ve had a lot of fun and now it’s time to start,” he told around 15,000 supporters gathered for a campaign rally at the American Airlines Center in Dallas. “This is going to happen. I’m telling you: I’m not going anywhere.
“Unless I win, it has been a waste of time for me,” he said. “I really mean that.”
During a more than hour-long speech, Trump touched on some of his cornerstone issues, such as the need to build a wall “with a big beautiful door” to cut down on illegal immigration, noting that his hair is real and touting that he is dramatically ahead in the GOP presidential race.
He made repeated references to Wednesday night’s Republican presidential debate on CNN. While he said there are other good candidates in the race for the Republican Party’s nomination, he said “nobody is going to be able to do the job I’m going to do.”
“I have tremendous energy ... to a point where it’s almost ridiculous to think about,” he said, adding that he also has the ability to make great deals and be a successful closer.
“We are tired of being pushed around,” he said. “We are sick and tired of what’s happening. And it’s going to change.
“We are going to have so many victories ... and they are going to be great victories and we are going to have them all the time.”
As he talked to thousands of cheering supporters inside the sports arena, around a thousand protesters gathered outside for a “Dump the Trump” rally to send a message “against hate mongering and racism.”
Inside, the crowd inside broke out into cheers of “USA, USA.” Supporters waved signs that read “Make America Great Again!” and “The silent majority stands with Trump.”
“This is history,” said Chris Roffe, a 71-year-old Bedford woman who said Monday’s rally is the first political event she has ever attended.
“I believe what he’s saying is honest, and oh my God, we need a change,” said Roffe, who showed up at the AAC about 9 a.m. to get in line for the 6 p.m. event. “The United States needs a new leader, one that is able to get some changes done.”
The wealthy real estate mogul is the latest candidate to head to North Texas, hoping to draw Texans’ support now and votes when Republican s head to the polls for the presidential primary March 1, 2016.
His visit comes just days after former Texas Gov. Rick Perry suspended his own bid for the White House. And earlier this month, two other GOP presidential hopefuls — Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz — campaigned in North Texas.
Trump did give Perry a shout-out, noting that he “came after me hard.” Nonetheless, he said, “I like that man and frankly, he tried.”
The other side
Before the rally, Trump opponents carrying “Dump Trump” signs and Trump-like piñatas gathered for a march to the American Airlines Center.
“We must stand up to hate with the values enshrined in the statute of liberty,” said Dallas attorney and former state Rep. Domingo Garcia, D-Dallas, who helped organize the protest. “We ... send a message to Mr. Trump that Latinos and a majority of Americans will not accept ... his messages of division and bigotry.”
State Rep. Ramon Romero, D-Fort Worth, was among those participating in the protest.
“Donald Trump is changing the language and dialogue,” he said. “He’s making people feel inferior and second class.
“You have to speak out.”
David Morrison, a Dallas volunteer for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, walked around the American Airlines Center Monday afternoon.
He said he’s worried about the type of president Trump would be if elected.
“My concern ... is the way he treats other people, with his remarks and his behavior,” said Morrison, 30. “I don’t see that as leadership for the country. It’s not the way a president should act.”
For about an hour Monday night, Trump enthralled a crowd that likely hit close to 15,000, but not the projected capacity of 20,000.
Trump noted that his friend, former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will replace him on NBC’s The Apprentice, which he believes is a good move.
Moving on to issues, he said “we have so many problems in this country.”
He wants to repeal Obamacare and replace it with “something great.” That something great might even be named Donaldcare, he said, taking a suggestion shouted out by someone in the audience.
Trump said it’s time to reduce taxes and address hedge funds.
Not to mention building a wall — and hiring Mexico to do the work — to cut down on illegal immigration, but allowing people to come into the country if they come here legally. He said other countries send the worst of their people to this country and it’s time for that to stop.
The self-funded candidate said the issue of anchor babies is wrong.
And, despite drawing criticism for the way he has talked to and about some women, Trump said he’s now “surging” in the polls among women.
“I have such respect for women,” he said to cheers. “I am going to take such good care of women’s health care issues you aren’t going to believe it.”
If elected, he said, people are going to be so proud of the USA again.
“You are going to remember this evening ... and say, ‘We were part of a movement to take back our country.’
“And we will make America great again.”
The last time Trump was in Texas was earlier this summer, when he toured the Texas-Mexico border and talked about illegal immigration.
“I’m a Republican and I like Donald Trump,” said Nicholas Shead, a 15-year-old Plano high school freshman who persuaded his mother, Lisa, to bring him to the rally. “He makes sense.
“He really speaks his mind,” he said. “That’s what I like about him. If I was 18, I would vote for him.”
Shead’s mother said her son has already persuaded her to vote for Trump.
“I think if Donald Trump becomes president, he will turn this country around,” she said.
Carol Langdon Konhankie said she supports Trump, but she doesn’t like the way he talks about women.
“I almost feel like he’s the bad tasting medicine I have to take to make the country better,” said Konhankie, a 75-year-old Flower Mound woman. “He’s the only one who is going to be able to turn this around.”