Trump makes case to First Coast voters


With a pledge to “drain the swamp” of Washington corruption, Republican presidential candidate Donald J. Trump took his case to First Coast voters Tuesday, traversing the northern half of the state in an effort to shore up local support and offset anticipated Democratic strength in South Florida.

A 3 p.m. rally at the St. Augustine Amphitheatre attracted an overflow crowd of approximately 5,000 Trump supporters, who were first greeted by U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani – both of whom stressed the importance of keeping Hillary Clinton out of the White House. DeSantis, for example, said Clinton’s Supreme Court picks would forever alter the face of the nation.

“If we end up allowing Hillary Clinton to replace Justice Antonin Scalia with a liberal Supreme Court justice, we will have a majority of five lockstep liberal justices and they will run roughshod over our Second Amendment rights, they will undermine religious freedom and they will empower the bureaucracy….so private citizens are not going to have a chance to win in the courts,” DeSantis said. “She wants judicial activists who aren’t going to follow the Constitution but will legislate from the bench.”

In contrast, DeSantis said, Trump would appoint justices who would adhere to the Constitution, not reinterpret it to suit a political agenda.

“Ultimately,” he said, “this is about the type of constitutional system we’re going to have.”

Giuliani, meanwhile, said that the first half of 2016 saw a 78 percent increase in the number of police officers who had been shot – a statistic he laid squarely at the White House doorstep.

“Do you know where the disrespect starts – at the top!” Giuliani said. “You can’t allow that disrespect without having a breakdown of the social order.”

Moreover, the people who are hurt most by this breakdown, he continued, are the poor.

“The people who claim to be for the poor, they’re a bunch of phonies,” Giuliani said. “They’ve been claiming to help the poor for 40, 50 years and what have they done? More welfare, more food stamps, more welfare and finally Obamacare.

“It comes out of this liberal, left-wing thinking, which is it’s good to make people dependent. No, it’s not,” Giuliani said. “Do you know what’s a good thing to do? Give people a good education and give them an opportunity for a good job. That’s what Donald Trump will do.”

Shortly after 3 p.m., Trump himself took the stage to a standing ovation and chants of “Trump! Trump! Trump!”

“In case you haven’t heard, we’re winning,” said Trump, referencing a new national poll he said showed him with a two-point lead over Clinton. “What we have is a movement like they’ve never seen before.”

Trump said that numerous polls showing him trailing Clinton reflected efforts by the mainstream media and the Clinton campaign to suppress voter turnout by oversampling Democrats, thereby creating a false perception that Clinton holds a commanding lead. He referenced the recent revelation that an organization led by former DNC Chairman and Clinton ally Terry McAuliffe gave nearly $500,000 to the political campaign of Dr. Jill McCabe, whose husband – FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe – oversaw the investigation into Clinton’s private email server.

Trump noted that while Gen. James Cartwright faces prison for disclosing classified information to a reporter, Clinton faced no charges for sending top secret, classified information over a private insecure email server.

“How dare they take a highly respected four-star general and destroy him, but Hillary Clinton is allowed to lie over and over and over again?” Trump asked. “The fact that she’s even allowed to run (for president) means our system is rigged. She has to be held accountable.”

Candidate’s contract

Trump then proceeded to detail his recently announced “Contract with the American Voter” – a list of specific actions and policy changes he pledged to take during his first 100 days in office. In addition to promising to end Obamacare and cut funding to sanctuary cities, he pledged to initiate a constitutional amendment to impose term limits on congress. Other proposals include renegotiating NAFTA, withdrawing from the TransPacific Partnership, and canceling climate change payments to the United Nations in order to reallocate the funding to fix America’s water and environmental infrastructure. Several proposals addressed what Trump calls Washington’s “rigged” system, with proposals aimed at curbing insider influence, such as implementing a lifetime ban on former White House staffers lobbying on behalf of foreign governments.

Such changes are necessary, Trump said, to “drain the swamp” of Washington political corruption.

“I’m not a politician and I never wanted to be a politician,” he said. “But I could not stand by and watch what was happening to our great country.

“On Nov. 8, we can wipe away the lawless legacy and create such an unbelievable American future.”