(Mike Chamberlain/The Cranky Hermit) – Potential Presidential candidate Donald Trump visited Las Vegas last night, appearing in front of a standing-room only crowd in the ballroom at Treasure Island. Why not at the hotel he built and named after himself? I was told it didn’t have a room large enough and, considering the size of the crowd, I believe it.
Trump didn’t disappoint, showing that he definitely knows how to work a crowd.
The food was much better than that normally offered at political events – hors d’ouvres closer to what one would see at more formal gatherings, and lots of them. Best of all, Free Booze!!! Though they quickly whisked away the portable bars the moment Trump entered the ballroom.
Something else uncharacteristic of political events was Trump’s use of profanity. He dropped several f-bombs and other expletives during the course of his address. Far from putting the audience off, however, they were very strategically-placed and often preceded rousing applause.
There was only a brief mention at the beginning of the speech of his foray into birtherism. As is his wont, he used it as a means of self-promotion. The Donald claimed credit for finally prodding Obama into producing his birth certificate after so many others, including both Hillary and Bill Clinton, had earlier failed to do so.
Trump condemned ObamaCare as a “disaster” and criticized the President for twice telling people not to come to Las Vegas. As far as his inexperience in politics, he declared, “I’ve been dealing with fricking politicians all my life.” That was the first and last time he substituted a euphemism for the f-word, choosing to use the real thing in the remainder of the speech.
Much of the speech dealt with trade and other aspects of foreign policy. While claiming he’s made a lot of money in China, Trump had strong words for the Chinese and for the administration’s kow-towing to China.
He said, “What China’s really done is manipulate their currency.” Trump declared that while the U.S. is spending billions of dollars policing the world, China is spending billions of dollars every day buying the world, all the while laughing at us. He criticized the President’s dealings with Chinese leaders saying, “When people are screwing you, you don’t give them state dinners.”
Trump lamented the loss of American manufacturing. He told a story of his company having to buy LG TVs from South Korea because the U.S. no longer makes televisions. “Why don’t we make them here?”
He pledged, if elected President, to impose a 25% tariff on all Chinese imports and stated at least a portion of what he termed the Trump Doctrine, which he claimed would prevent China from surpassing the American economy in the four years a recent analysis projected. He would tell the Chinese that if they wanted to sell their products here, they would have to build their manufacturing plants in Alabama, Nevada and other places in the U.S. Whether the President actually has the Constitutional authority to do all of the things he wants was not addressed.
American policy in the Middle East, under both Bush and Obama, was a subject for much of his ire. He expressed his opposition to the original decision to go to war in Iraq (this is not a new position for him as I remember seeing him taking this position in an interview years ago).
He said the Iraqi leaders hate us and are cozying up to Iran. After we leave, Trump declared, the Iranians won’t have to fight their way into Iraq but will be able to walk in and take over “in fifteen minutes”. We will be powerless to remove them at that point as well. He said what America should do is make Iraq use its oil wealth to pay the United States back for all we spent in the war.
As for Middle Eastern countries in general, “I’m interested in protecting none of them unless they pay.” He declared himself a strong supporter of Israel and expressed his fear of what would happen if, as he predicts, Iran takes advantage of the current turmoil to gain control of the rest of the Middle East – Iraq, Egypt and other countries.
Regarding Libya, Trump stated, “I’m interested in Libya if we can keep the oil.”
He expressed support for harvesting our own energy resources. “We gotta drill for oil,” he said. He also urged Americans to take advantage of our vast natural gas and coal deposits.
Trump also criticized the media. He said the people “are smarter than the press.” With respect to the media’s fawning treatment of the President, Trump declared, “I’ve never seen anybody protected like this guy.”
He seemed to be saying things that a lot of conservatives want to hear. I spoke with at least one activist last night who was planning to seek out an opportunity to volunteer for Trump. I know another who already has.
He certainly has some positives. I don’t know of any politician, save a sitting President, who could fill a room that size in Nevada, even with free food and booze! About the only politician in the world with better name recognition is President Obama himself, and I’m not even so sure about that. He obviously knows how to work a crowd.
Even in those instances when he says the right things, is that what he really believes? Or is conservatism simply the flavor-of-the-day for him and another avenue for self-promotion? That was a concern expressed by more than one person I spoke with afterward. People know him as a celebrity-businessman (celebrity intentionally listed first) but do they know what he really believes? I know he was able to convince a number of people last night. But to say that some who attended the event remain skeptical would be an understatement.
So is Trump going to run? He didn’t say for certain but when one woman in the audience yelled that he should run, he responded by saying he will make her very happy.
He concluded with, “If I run and if I win, we’ll have a rich country again, we’ll have a great country again and…we’ll be respected as a country again.”
Did I mention Trump knows how to work a crowd?