So much for reining in Donald Trump.
The Republican presidential candidate’s bluster was on full display Saturday during a nearly hourlong speech before more than 2,000 supporters inside a sweltering hangar at Pittsburgh International Airport.
Trump endured perhaps the harshest criticism of his campaign last week. He questioned whether the “Mexican heritage” of an American-born federal judge in a lawsuit against him might be affecting the judge’s decisions, given Trump’s hard-line stance against illegal immigration from Mexico and his desire to build a wall along the Mexican border. Several GOP leaders criticized the comments, with House Speaker Paul Ryan calling it a “textbook definition of a racist comment.”
“Everything is politically correct. You say something that’s a little bit off, and you get headlines. They’re like a bunch of babies, a bunch of dumb babies,” Trump said during his Pittsburgh appearance, which followed a stop in Tampa, Fla.
Trump supporter Fred Hrynkiw of Downtown called the billionaire’s comments about the judge “disconcerting,” but said Trump is a “breath of fresh air because he’s not scripted.”
Trump uncharacteristically used a teleprompter in a speech Tuesday, signaling to some people that his campaign might be trying to keep the outspoken billionaire on a tighter leash. Trump didn’t use a teleprompter at Saturday’s rally.
“I thought (Trump) was refreshing. With everything that’s being said about him, I wanted to see him for himself. This has sealed the deal for me,” said Frank McGuire, 58, of Oakdale, a former supporter of President Obama.
Trump’s wide-ranging speech bore a lot of similarities to the one he gave in April at Downtown’s David L. Lawrence Convention Center.
Trump promised to restore lost jobs in the steel manufacturing and coal industries, repeal and replace Obamacare, protect the Second Amendment and negotiate better foreign trade deals, particularly with China.
He panned the Iran nuclear deal that resulted in lifted sanctions against the Middle Eastern country, and vowed to eliminate ISIS. He vowed to rebuild the nation’s military and educational system, preserve Social Security and lower taxes on the middle class and businesses.
His promises to build a wall between the United States and Mexico, at Mexico’s expense, were met with loud chants of support.
Trump said a Hillary Clinton presidency would be devastating for the country. He criticized the media and reserved particular venom for former GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who has been highly critical of Trump.
Trump also modified his campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again.”
“We’re going to make America great again for everybody. We’re going to have a country that’s unified … white, black, the richer, the poorer, everybody. We’re going to bring everybody together,” Trump said.
“We are going to win so much (that) you’re going to be so proud of your president and, much more important, you’re going to be so proud of your country.”
Tom Fontaine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-320-7847 or [email protected].