- The Washington Times - Friday, August 21, 2015

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

He has grand showmanship but a very clear message. Roaring overhead in his personal Boeing 757, Donald Trump circled the Alabama stadium packed with fans waiting for an evening campaign pep rally — not once but twice on Friday night.

The Republican front-runner had arrived.

Mr. Trump was there to host the biggest event so far in the 2016 presidential season. An estimated 30,000 people showed up to hear him speak at a football stadium in Mobile, where the theme was “Make America great again,” and Old Glory was the prevailing visual cue.

Loudspeakers blared with the appropriate southern anthem “Sweet Home Alabama.” Wearing his now signature red baseball cap, khaki pants and tailored blazer but no tie, Mr. Trump spoke for an hour, covering topics of acute interest to his audience.

Immigration, the economy, foreign entanglements, the 14th Amendment and his GOP rivals — particularly former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush — all came under discussion. Sen. Jeff Sessions arrived to give a brief, cordial speech, and the crowd was as enthusiastic as a hometown football audience. The seemingly indefatigable Mr. Trump reminded them that he was a player on a global scale.

“I know the game better than anyone,” he said.

“Here’s a simple question: Who would you rather have negotiating with China, Japan, Mexico, any of them? Trump or Bush?” the candidate asked the crowd.

They responded with chants of “Trump, Trump, Trump.”

The billionaire also advised that he wished the 2016 presidential election was imminent rather than 15 months off. “I would like to have the election tomorrow. I don’t want to wait,” he said.

The event drew major media, including C-SPAN — and within three hours of the rally, some 500 news accounts appeared, the stories ranging from laudatory to critical mockery. Find the entire rally on C-SPAN here

Though there was much political theater, the candidate’s message was clear, however.

“We’re going to make America better than it’s ever been,” Mr. Trump said, adding in an extra tweet, “Finally, the silent majority is back.”

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