- Associated Press - Saturday, December 5, 2015

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - Several thousand people roared with approval Friday night for Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump, who brought his no-nonsense platform about immigration and homeland security to North Carolina for the first time since announcing his candidacy.

North Carolina elected officials have tried to make the state a bigger player in choosing presidential nominees this cycle, moving up the primaries from early May to March 15. Trump last gave a public address in North Carolina at the state Republican Party convention in June, days before his official launch for president.

Responding to an audience member’s question about the mass shooting this week in San Bernardino, California, Trump said “it was a terrorist attack” and vowed to not let such killings occur if elected president. The FBI announced earlier Friday it’s investigating the shootings as an act of terrorism.

“We are going to handle it so tough,” Trump told the Dorton Arena crowd at the State Fairgrounds in Raleigh. “We’re going to get it stopped because we can’t allow this to happen to our country.”

Trump again pushed his idea to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, paid for by the Mexican government.

Arena seats were full and nearly all the arena floor was covered with supporters. The standing crowd included Nick Ditcheos, 52, of Cary, who called himself a former Republican who became unaffiliated when the tea party movement emerged.

Wearing a red hat with emblazoned with Trump’s “Make America Great Again” catchphrase, Ditcheos said he supports Trump because of his “positive message.”

“Everything about him is looking forward and not looking back. He says some things that need to be said … sometimes I cringe at some of the things he says,” Ditcheos said, but contrasted Trump with those he considered untruthful politicians.

About 20 protesters in the audience were led away by law enforcement when they disrupted Trump’s hour-long event on several occasions.



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