NAPLES, Fla. – A capacity crowd showed up to hear Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump outline his plan for his first 100 days in the White House early Sunday evening during a stop in Collier County.
Trump took the stage about 15 minutes before the scheduled 6 p.m. start time for his outdoor rally at the Collier County Fairgrounds, 751 39th Avenue N.E. He spoke for almost an hour, touching on a range of subjects from the Islamic state to women to the media.
Immigration and national security were key topics, as Trump once more promised to build a wall along the Mexican border. He pointed to a need for better control over the people coming in and out of the country amid the war on terror.
“We have to keep these people out, and if we don’t we aren’t going to have a country anymore, or a very sick country,” Trump said. “We are letting in some of the worst people, we are letting into our country people we don’t know who they are.
“Let me state this very clearly. If I’m elected president, I’m going to keep radical Islamic terrorists the hell out of our country.”
He also talked about matters that hit close to home, touting the need to save the Everglades and repair the Hoover Dike around Lake Okeechobee.
It was Trump’s second appearance in Southwest Florida in little more than a month following his Sept. 19 rally at Germain Arena.
Between 200 and 300 filed in when the gates opened at 2 p.m. About 8,000 had shown up by 4 p.m., organizers and Secret Service officials said. Roughly 500 people were turned away.
Former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani was among the speakers who went on ahead of Trump, who cited an Investor’s Business Daily poll that shows him leading by two points and insisted that the media is the reason he trails Hillary Clinton in other polls. Clinton leads by 3.8 points nationwide and by 5.6 points in Florida, according to Real Clear Politics.
The mention of Clinton’s name elicited boos from the partisan crowd Sunday. Stephanie Woo, a merchant at the rally selling T-shirt, hats, buttons and other Trump-themed memorabilia, said she expected to sell through most of her items with such a large number of people showing up. Trump backer Ralph Napolitano, who was among those arriving early.
“My wife and seven of our friends, we got here 8 o’clock this morning,” Napolitano said. “The energy level is really strong. There are so many people here that are looking for a change in America.”
The weather was mild, with low humidity and temperatures hugging 80 degrees, but three people were taken to the hospital as a precaution because of heat-related reasons. Others have been treated on site.
Rally attendee Frank Ortiz was impressed with Trump’s speech and expressed fear about what might happen if Clinton were to win.
“We really feel like that man spoke from his heart,” Ortiz said. “If we go the other way, five to ten years, we’ll have famine.”
Trump supporter Bob Kunst is a registered Democrat who’s crossing party lines to vote for the Republican nominee this year.
“This is way beyond Democrat and Republican,” Kunst said. “This is like, everybody’s fed up. Nobody can stand it one more second.”
Earlier in the day, the head of the Republican Party said on CBS’ Face the Nation that there’s no reason for anyone from his party to run counter to Kunst and vote for Clinton.
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus is pushing back on criticism of Trump for saying he might not accept the election’s results. Priebus said Trump is referring to narrow scenarios in which only a few hundred votes separate the candidates.
Priebus also said that voter fraud is not “some figment of people’s imagination.” He said Trump merely wants his supporters to “watch out for voter fraud that might occur.”
Priebus also predicted that Trump will do better in African American communities than Republicans did in the previous two presidential elections.
Connor Norman, a 12-year-old at Sunday’s rally, said it was an educational experience.
“It helps to know more about who is running for the presidential election, and I want to learn more about it so I can be good, be a good citizen.”
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.