A record crowd turned out to see the Republican frontrunner of the 2016 presidential race Monday evening at the Deltaplex Arena.
Donald Trump drew out more than 6,000 people to hear him speak about his plans for the presidency, including immigration, tax reform, holding corporations accountable, and all tied together with a great deal of his personal views.
The people that Trump drew in were mainly white, with a few exceptions, and much of the crowd were young and enthusiastic for Trump and what he had to say. There were a few protestors who were removed during the course of the evening, with Trump telling the Secret Service to be nice and not hurt them.
“Trump is one of those guys that speaks his mind. He doesn’t care if what he says is offensive,” said Hope College freshman Luke VanBlois. “People get so offended now, and it seems like they look for something to be offended about.”
Others at the rally came out to be informed and see for themselves what Trump looks like as an opposition candidate.
“It was wild. It seemed like a high school homecoming rally. There was no professionalism,” said Central Michigan University December graduate Jasmine Valentine.
Some of the more controversial points of Trump’s platform resonate with young conservatives, whether it’s the proposed wall on the southern border or the ban on Muslim immigration to the United States.
“The wall? I don’t think it’s a literal wall he wants, it’s tougher immigration laws,” said Grandville native and British Columbia North Okanagan Knights junior hockey player Patrick Nicholson, 18. “What he said about banning all Muslims, I think it’s just something he said to bring more discussion around Syrians coming to the country.”
“I definitely don’t want to see Hillary Clinton as President,” said Grand Rapids Community College freshman Elliot Lipski. “Trump is one of the best candidates to keep another Democrat out of office. I don’t think our country can take a Democrat for another four years.”
Some students were more critical about Trump’s platform, calling into question the substance of his politics rather than his over-the-top delivery.
“Trump has a lot of popular support from his base, but so does Bernie Sanders on the other side. I think there’s not a lot of substance to what Trump says. It’s all pomp,” said Oakland University political science and history freshman Richard Williamson.
Trump started out his speech by saying that he wants Michigan to start building cars again. He talked about making this possible by raising what amounts to a tariff tax to companies that manufacture outside of the United States to the tune of 35 to 40 percent.
Trump spoke of a letter he received from Ford president Mark Fields, and said Fields wants to build a new $2.5 billion Ford manufacturing plant for vehicles and parts in Mexico.
“Why can’t you build that plant in Michigan?” said Trump when speaking of his communication with Fields. “I’m a free trader, but this is no good for our country. But we can’t be stupid traders.”
Trump spoke of the wall he wants to build at the Mexican border, and said it will be the greatest and most beautiful wall because he’ll be remembered and honored for building it.
Trump presented his points on a massive debt at home from the Iraq war that turned into a disaster, the rise of ISIS because of the failure of the American backed Iraqi government, and the massive trading deficit between the USA and China.
“If I’m elected President, those days are over,” said Trump. “We’re going to become so successful.”
Trump talked about some praise he received from Russian president Vladimir Putin this last weekend.
“Putin came out of nowhere two days ago, and he said, ‘Trump is great. He is brilliant. He’s the leader of the parties.’ And he said nice things,” said Trump.
Trump concluded his speech with a call to action focused on rebuilding what he called the American dream.
“There’s an expression about the American dream, the wonderful American dream. The truth is the American dream is dead,” said Trump. “But I’m going to make it bigger, and better, and stronger than ever before. Bigger, and better, and stronger. We’re going to make our country beautiful again, and it’s going to be so beautiful to watch.”