Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump rallied a raucous arena crowd Tuesday, drawing lusty cheers with his attacks on Democrat Hillary Clinton, vows to overturn faulty trade deals and calls to ban Syrian refugees from the U.S.
EVERETT — Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump rallied a raucous arena crowd Tuesday, drawing lusty cheers with his attacks on Democrat Hillary Clinton, vows to overturn faulty trade deals and calls to ban Syrian refugees from the U.S.
Campaigning in a state where polls show him down double digits, and where voters haven’t supported a Republican for president since 1984, Trump took the stage and declared “We’re gonna win this state, and we’re gonna win the White House!”
In a 48-minute speech to several thousand at Xfinity Arena, Trump repeated his recent arguments that Democratic politicians like Clinton have harmed African Americans and Hispanics while taking their votes for granted.
“What do you have to lose by voting for Donald Trump?” he said. “I will fix it.”
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Speaking to the largely white audience, Trump argued inner cities are being harmed by undocumented immigrants sucking up government services. He vowed to take that money and use it to rebuild places like Detroit. He said he’d end bad foreign trade deals and that a watchword of his administration would be “jobs, jobs, jobs.”
Some of the loudest chants and cheers came when Trump vowed to halt the entry into the U.S. of Syrian refugees fleeing that nation’s violence.
“Bad, bad things are gonna happen,” Trump warned, claiming the refugees could not be properly screened. “This could be the great Trojan horse of all time.”
Trump compared the refugees to a “vicious snake” — reading the lyrics to a song about a woman who takes in a half-frozen snake only to have it fatally bite her. “You knew damn well that I was a snake before you took me in,” Trump said, reciting the reptile’s taunt of the dying woman.
Trump’s stop also brought hundreds of protesters, including elected officials who gathered before the rally and walked to the arena. Some protesters were ejected during the rally and two outside were arrested, one for disorderly conduct and another for assault.
Protesters and supporters continued to clash outside as Trump spoke inside.
Shortly before the 7 p.m. rally started, the Trump campaign announced he would travel to Mexico Wednesday, hours before a much-anticipated speech on immigration, to meet with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto.
In Everett, Trump did not mention his often-repeated promise to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, though he did vow to crack down on illegal immigration.
He nodded to the Seattle area’s heroin epidemic, linking it to a flood of drugs connected with porous borders. “It’s getting worse. It’s getting horrific,” he said.
At a fundraiser before the rally, Trump raised more than $1 million, according to state Republican Party Chairman Susan Hutchison, who added that 150 donors attended the event.
In a sign of the unusually divisive candidacy that has split the GOP, no top Washington Republican candidates or politicians joined Trump on stage. Some, including Congressman Dave Reichert and gubernatorial candidate Bill Bryant, have said they won’t vote for their party’s nominee.
But Trump brought his own big national names to the rally: Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who all spoke at the event.
Giuliani said the energy in the arena was more fervent than anything the Democrats could muster this year.
“The only way Hillary Clinton can get this kind of enthusiasm is if she got the Clinton foundation to pay some people off to go to a rally,” Giuliani said.
After the rally, Peter Langbeck, a 20-year-old University of Washington student voting in his first presidential election in November, was buzzing with excitement.
“It felt great” to see Donald Trump up close, said Langbeck, who’s counting on Trump to get tough on immigration.
Langbeck hails from a politically liberal family and “hated the old Republican Party” that enriched the elite, he said. But he became a Trump supporter this spring while studying in Berlin.
“I saw what unchecked immigration was doing there,” he said.
Before the rally, thousands waited in a line that stretched 10 blocks, with some people saying they had arrived at 2 a.m. Tuesday to get in first.
Some supporters angrily booed two women who walked past holding “No White Supremacy In The White House” signs.
For many Trump supporters, illegal immigration is a top concern, captured by his controversial proposal to erect a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Steven and Eugenia Canner, of Everett, who met in her native Philippines decades ago when he was deployed there with the Marines, said they’re frustrated with the direction the country is going.
They said they went through the “proper channels” when Eugenia immigrated to the U.S. and then worked hard to support themselves, contrasting that with immigrants without documents and refugees who “get all that special stuff from the government.” Now they’re retired, rent just went up and they’re struggling to get by.
It was Trump’s second visit to Washington state. He last visited in May, holding rallies in Spokane and Lynden, Whatcom County.
An August poll by Seattle-based Elway Research showed Trump with 24 percent support among Washington voters, compared with 43 percent for Democrat Hillary Clinton. The remainder were undecided or supporting third-party candidates.
But Trump campaign leaders contend polls aren’t picking up all of his “silent majority” of support, including new voters who previously had not engaged in politics. At tents set up around the arena, volunteers were busy registering voters.
Dave Jenkins, a maintenance supervisor from Granite Falls, says he registered to vote for the first time this year — at the age of 62 — because of Trump.
Jenkins said Trump would strengthen the military so the world fears America again. “Now they laugh at us,” he said.