Thousands gather in Harrington to hear Trump

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HARRINGTON – The Quillen Arena rumbled with jeers and cheers Friday as Donald J. Trump spoke to rally attendees at the Delaware State Fairgrounds.

For rally-goers like Martie Owers of Rehoboth Beach, the event only solidified their upcoming vote for the presidential candidate.

“Trump just caught me with his very first announcement,” Ms. Owers said. “Here, he touched on everything I wanted him to. He didn’t talk much about immigration, but that’s okay. He talked about a lot; and it was all good.”

For others, like Harrington Mayor Anthony Moyer, the rally served a different purpose.

“He has earned my vote as long as he stays on the same path. He said the right things tonight. It sounds, to me, that he’s changed his tune a little bit, so I’m glad to see that. It sounds like he’s becoming more diplomatic.”

Mayor Moyer added that he thought the rally was well-done and attended by a diverse group of people, especially on such short notice. Mr. Trump’s campaign only announced the Delaware appearance two days prior, still managing to draw in a crowd of about 8,200 people, according to the mayor.

“That’s twice the population of Harrington. And they pulled it off,” he said.

Before Mr. Trump was set to speak inside the arena at 4 p.m., Senator Colin Bonini (R-DE) joined several others in introductory speeches touting the candidate’s views.

“Mr. Trump understands… by far, this country comes from you, not from the folks in Washington D.C. The government is broken in so many ways and all of us know that. The only way to fix it here in Delaware and in D.C. is by strong, principled leadership,” he said.

After an unscheduled break from speeches, an announcement stating that the helicopter carrying Mr. Trump had landed around 4:20 p.m. created an uproar by the eager crowd inside the Quillen Arena.

He began his speech by saying that he loves Delaware and added in information specific to the state, winning over much of the crowd.

“The median household income in Delaware is more than $10,000 less since 2000,” he began. “Food stamps have increased six-fold since 2000. You’re at 36,000 now.”

He also said, after checking with his staff prior to the event, that he has 378 entities registered in the state of Delaware.

“I figured they’d say two or three, but they said 378,” he said surprisingly.

The crowd booed when Mr. Trump said, “Delaware voters are concerned about the possible intake of Syrian refugees,” confirming their disgust. “We don’t even know where the hell they came from. We all have heart, but we don’t know where these people are coming from.”

Changing gears during his speech, he said, “Our country doesn’t win anymore. It’s always the same: Jobs being stripped, factories being closed. We’re not going to let it happen anymore, folks. We’re not going to be the dummies.”

Trade imbalance and keeping jobs in the country were other hot topics for the New York native, topics also close to the hearts of many in Delaware as the state lays claim to many corporations and large businesses.

“I’m not upset with other leaders; I’m upset with our leaders,” he said, referring to decisions made to send jobs overseas as an “economic behemoth.”

Mr. Trump also briefly spoke to the crowd about taking care of the country’s veterans, creating a better military and working towards a better financial situation for the country.

Touting his own financial decisions, he said, “That’s the kind of thinking our country needs.”

But not everyone agrees with all of Mr. Trump’s ideas.

Very few protesters were seen at the Trump rally in Harrington, but Gabrielle Franks said it wasn’t for a lack of trying.

Ms. Franks organized peaceful protests at the Harrington event and a previous Trump rally held in Berlin April 20.

“It was very difficult to even get our voices heard at all because the entire fair ground was rented out. It was all technically private property, meaning that protesters weren’t even allowed near it,” she explained.

The few protesters who made it inside the rally were quietly and quickly ushered out of the arena by other attendees and, in at least one case, the secret service.

“It’s very, very disappointing to me that we weren’t able to protest the way we wanted to. The fact that a presidential candidate would hide our voices the way he did is unsettling,” Ms. Franks said. “When a candidate as popular as he is makes it hard for people to exercise their rights, there’s a big problem.”

Mr. Trump seemed to make a protest of his own by mentioning two of his presidential race competitors, “Lyin’ Ted” Cruz and “Crooked Hillary” Clinton several times. He argued that a Clinton vs. Trump race would be the greatest voter turnout of all time.

Mr. Trump said Americans can make their own voices known by voting in the primaries which is April 26 for Delawareans.

News Editor Jennifer Antonik can be reached at jantonik@newszap.com or 302-422-1200.

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