It took President Donald Trump more than 30 minutes into his speech—that included bashing his Democratic rivals and the “fake news” media—before telling more than 20,000 people what they came to hear.
“I stand before you to officially launch my campaign for a second term as President of the United States,” Trump said Tuesday to a raucous crowd at the Amway Center arena in Orlando, Florida. “I promise you I will never, never let you down.”
During his nearly 90-minute speech, Trump said his 2016 campaign was more than a political campaign. It was a “defining moment” and historic movement made up of people who “love their country, love their flag, love their children, and believe that a nation must care for its own citizens first.”
With chants of “USA” and “Make America Great,” Trump’s speech in the battleground state of Florida comes nearly 24 hours after he said in a pair of tweets that he will double down on his tough stance on immigration promise, including threatening to deport millions of immigrants living in the United States illegally.
Immigration has been a critical theme of Trump since his initial presidential run in 2016 and remains a consistent go-to move to rally his base. It didn’t take long for him to reiterate a similar message on Tuesday.
Trump said a Democratic president and Democratic-led Congress “would strip Americans of their constitutional rights while flooding the country with illegal immigrants.” To a chorus of boos, the president further said to his supporters that Democrats want them “splintered” and “divided.”
His supporters then began chanting: “Build that wall! Build that wall!”
“We are building the wall,” Trump said, adding that some 400 miles of the new wall will be built by the end of 2020.
Trump also said the U.S. is finally making “America First” and creating a “nation that must care for its own citizens first.” The president took numerous shots at his Democratic critics saying that the U.S. is a much more respected country across the globe under his watch.
“They wanted to deny you the future that you demanded and the future that America deserves and now is getting,” Trump told the crowd. “They want to destroy you and … destroy our country as we know it. It’s not acceptable, and it’s not going to happen.”
Trump said if he’s reelected, his administration will do things that no one else has ever attempted before.
“Wait until you see some of the things you’ll hear about in the next few months,” Trump teased to the partisan crowd with cheers of “Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!”
Trump also called drew cheers when he zinged off one-liners at Democrats, calling them “depraved,” “radical,” “extreme,” and “unhinged.”
“They would shut down your free speech and use the power of the law to punish their opponents,” he said.
Meanwhile, Trump’s official relaunch speech also arrives as he is trailing in numerous polls as Democratic challengers, including former vice president Joe Biden and Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, have significant leads over the president. He called Biden “Sleepy creepy Uncle Joe,” taking more shots at him and his predecessor, President Barack Obama.
Biden responded to the president’s speech in a series of tweets, including saying “This is truly the most important election of our lifetime.”
In another tweet, Biden said, “Trump continues to undermine our standing in the world,” Our core values of inclusivity, diversity, respect for the rule of law, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and freedom of religion are under attack here at home and abroad.
Trump said two and a half years into his tenure, he sees plenty of positive signs, buoyed by a surging economy, tax cuts, trade deals, and low unemployment.
As for Sanders, Trump said America will not stop fighting for the values that “keep us as one.” The president also said Americans don’t believe in socialism, “they believe in freedom.”
In response, Sanders tweeted that “Trump is living in a parallel universe. He is way out of touch with ordinary people. He must be defeated.” Sanders also tweeted a video on how he plans to beat Trump.
During an interview with Time that ran online Tuesday, Trump said that while he believes a 449-page investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller hurt his job approval rating, which has never been above 50%, it also strengthened his connection with his supporters.
While the 22-month investigation found no evidence of a conspiracy involving the Trump campaign and Russia, the president said he believes his base is even angrier than him about the probe.
“The witch hunt has made our base stronger,” Trump told Time on Monday. “It’s made our people more resilient.”
During Tuesday’s rally, Trump said the Democrats were hoping for a “do-over” with the investigation mentioning his 2016 opponent Hillary Clinton.
He called the investigation an “illegal attempt to overturn the results of the election, spy on our campaign, which is what they did, and subverts our democracy.” The crowd soon broke into chants of “lock her up.”
Later in his speech, Trump asked the crowd to decide which slogan he should use during his campaign: “Make America Great Again,” or “Keep America Great.”
“Keep America Great,” said Trump. “Well, we’re going to keep on fighting for every man, woman, and child across this great land…and we will indeed Keep America Great better than ever before.”
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