SARASOTA, Fla. – With 108 days to go before the Florida primary, Republican presidential candidate front-runner Donald Trump visited a packed house of supporters in Sarasota Saturday. He started by reminding the crowd he’s still leading in the polls.
“Leading in Texas, leading in Ohio… we’re leading in Florida against a sitting senator,” Trump told the cheering crowd, referring to Senator Marco Rubio.
Trump spoke for about an hour, touching on a number of subjects ranging from immigration to terrorism to education. Trump vowed to do away with Common Core, beef up the military and bomb Syrian oil fields.
More than 4,500 supporters filled Robarts Arena, and hundreds if not thousands more lined the streets outside in an almost circus-like atmosphere.
“(I like that he’s) not being a politician, his self support of his campaign, his willingness to give everything back,” said supporter Patrick Bockino, who drove up from Naples for the rally.
A group of anti-Trump protesters stood along the street holding signs and calling Trump a racist bigot for what they call attacks on minority groups.
“First and foremost he attacked Mexicans, I’m a Mexican-American. He attacked Syrian refugees, and most recently he attacked people with disabilities,” Junior Salazar told WINK News.
Trump responded Saturday to those who accuse him of mocking a New York Times reporter with a physical disability at a rally in South Carolina Tuesday.
“I would never mock anyone with a disability. Never,” he told the crowd.
But Trump wasn’t afraid to take jabs at his Republican opponents from Florida, calling out Rubio’s voting attendance and former Governor Jeb Bush’s toughness.
“He’s trying to be tough… you can’t act tough you just gotta be tough,” said Trump.
“I think confidence is a big thing, big character trait of his. I think it’s something we as a nation can benefit from,” supporter Joel Spinks told WINK News.
Trump’s next stop on the campaign trail will be in Macon, Georgia on Monday.