Republican presidential contender Donald Trump promised Wednesday to make the American economy stronger and protect jobs from being sent overseas.
“We’re going to be rich again, we’re going to be strong again, we’re going to be respected again,” he told a crowd estimated at 4,000 at the Sumter Civic Center. “We’re going to start winning again.”
Trump sounded familiar themes as he sought to rally voters to support him in South Carolina’s Republican Presidential Primary on Saturday.
He avoided any comment on Gov. Nikki Haley’s endorsement of Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida.
Trump instead berated Democrats for what he said has been the mishandling of the economy, saying many trade deals have been concluded with “such stupidity, such gross incompetence.”
He again called for building a wall at the Mexican border to prevent loss of jobs to those coming across without approval.
“When that wall is built, there are no illegal immigrants coming across,” he said.
He also took a look ahead at a potential challenger, dismissing Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton as “an Obama clone.”
Trump promised to be tough on Middle Eastern terrorists. “We’re going to have to knock the hell out of them,” he said.
Trump’s approach to national security is vital today, S.C. Lt. Gov. Henry McMaster told the crowd.
“This is a new time in the life of America,” said McMaster, who has endorsed Trump. “Terrorism has been unleashed.”
The rally attracted Trump supporters from across the Midlands.
“Everybody else is an empty suit,” said restaurant operator John Rogan of northeast Richland County. “When he takes on a job, he gets it done.”
His message also appeals to Christopher Jeffcoat of Lugoff, who calls himself a swing voter.
“He’s an obvious leader, rather than being a whiner,” Jeffcoat said. “That’s what we need now.”
Trump spoke for 41 minutes and stayed to sign autographs for about 15 minutes afterward.
Graham calls Trump a ‘a kook’; Trump says senator ‘knows nothing’
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump slammed U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., in Sun City on Wednesday, calling his former rival “one of the dumbest human beings I’ve ever seen.”
Trump was responding to Graham’s appearance on Fox News earlier Wednesday, when Graham called Trump “a kook” and “unfit for office,” adding he would be “the most flawed nominee in the history of the Republican Party.”
Trump hit back in Sun City, mocking Graham’s demeanor, saying, “He couldn’t even talk. He was shaking – the hatred. He went crazy. The guy is a nut job.”
Graham appeared calm in the interview.
Trump mocked Graham’s low level of support in polls before he dropped out of the GOP contest as well as his perspective on U.S. military engagement.
“I could push him over with a little thimble,” says Trump, adding, “This guy knows nothing.”
At Sun City in June, Trump read Graham’s cellphone number out loud to the crowd – one of the first signs that his campaign was going to break all the rules of political decorum.