SAN PEDRO, Calif. — Aboard a mighty and powerful battleship, Trump’s message lacked both might and power.
Speaking here, aboard the decommissioned USS Iowa one night before the second GOP debate debate, the frontrunner’s typically lengthy, rambling, and crowd-exciting address lasted a mere 15 or so minutes and seemed to lack his usual, and much-adored, flair.
Trump did hit his usual talking points: immigration, deficits with China and Japan, as well as thanks the host for his endorsement from the “Veterans For A Strong America” group who invited him to speak on the ship.
“We have illegal immigrants that are treated better by far than our veterans,” Trump said. “It’s not going to happen anymore.”
He also promised that he would cut trade deficits with countries like China, Japan and Mexico because he has “smart people.”
“I love free trade, the concept is great but you need smart people, I have the smartest people,” he said to cheers.
Trump also insisted his personal skills on the international stage are superior to his opponents.
“I’m fighting some very nice people,” he said. “But they’re never going to do anything with these countries. They’re never going to be able to do it. It’s an instinct. It’s something that’s special. They don’t have it.”
But this speech had a new — and presumably unwanted — twist: the loud, raucous chorus of protesters let in from the street, chanting against Trump and his immigration policies.
The few hundred protesters brought signs and voices that carried their chants along the cool wind of the port and up to the deck of the crowded ship above. Almost all of the 850 attendees could clearly hear the “dump Trump” jeers below deck. Standing on the deck facing the Vincent Thomas Bridge, those aboard the ship could hear protesters in one ear and Trump in the other.
In introducing Trump, VSA’s Joel Arends said he departed from the group’s usual practice of not endorsing candidates because he sees 2016 as a pivotal moment.
In response to receiving the group’s endorsement, Trump said that he “didn’t expect it, didn’t ask for it” but “really appreciate[d]” earning it.
But Trump didn’t have time to bask in the glow of a new endorsement. Each time the crowd of supporters cheered, the protesters bellowed back to match them. His usual applause lines that made the American Airlines Arena in Dallas erupt in cheers and ” …Read More