GOP presidential candidate Donald TrumpDonald TrumpGingrich: 'Hillary Clinton lies all the time’ Clinton pledges broadband access for all households by 2020 Dem rep: Benghazi report all about hurting Clinton MORE told thousands of potential voters in Phoenix on Saturday that “the silent majority is back” in America.
Trump addressed a wild rally for proponents of border security, basking in the adulation of supporters after several weeks of controversy.
The New York businessman told listeners that support is building for his tough talk on border security and illegal immigration.
“The word is getting out that we have to stop illegal immigration,” he said. “We have a situation that is absolutely out of control.”
“We’re getting ripped,” Trump added. “We’re getting taken apart piece-by-piece slowly.”
The outspoken billionaire blamed America’s traditional political class for letting immigration reach crisis levels.
“We have incompetent politicians and not just the president,” Trump said of President Obama.
“Right here, in your own state, you have John McCain,” he said of Arizona’s Republican senator.
“I just hate to see that people don’t have common sense,” Trump added.
“For some reason, some people just don’t get it,” he said. “I don’t think they will be in office much longer.”
Trump estimated the crowd to be about 5,000 people. Reports estimated the audience in the thousands.
Trump covered familiar ground during Saturday’s event, linking illegal immigration with violent crime and arguing America is no longer competitive in the global economy.
The White House hopeful’s tough talk drew Hispanic protesters, who tried disrupting his remarks that evening.
Security ejected the hecklers, as Trump continued describing illegal immigration as a public menace.
Trump then introduced Jamiel Shaw, whose son was shot and killed by an illegal immigrant.
“Think about your child laying in the street dead,” Shaw said of his son’s murder. “We were not designed for that.”
“I felt real hope,” he said of hearing Trump’s attacks on violence stemming from illegal immigration.
“When Trump came out aggressive like that, it showed he can weather the storm.” Shaw added. “We need someone who can weather the storm. He’s the only person talking about saving our country.”
Trump hit other topics in his speech, calling for ObamaCare to be eliminated while healthcare is still protected for as many Americans as possible.
"We have to repeal and replace ObamaCare," he said. "We have got to take care of everybody. I love you conservatives, but we have to."
The real estate mogul also vowed he would decimate the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) if elected president.
"I would take them out so fast," Trump said. "ISIS will be in so much trouble."
"They make Saddam Hussein look like choir boys," he said in a criticism of the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
Trump star took the stage to "Real American" by Rick Derringer — best known as pro wrestling legend Hulk Hogan’s entrance song.
He left to "We're Not Gonna Take It" by Twisted Sister.
Trump’s address is the fever pitch of national attention over his outspoken views on border control and immigration policies.
His campaign announced before Saturday’s event it was moving to the Phoenix Convention Center amid overwhelming demand for additional seating.
Arizona’s Republican Party made it clear Friday it was not involved in the crowded scene.
“Immigration is an important issue, which is why all the candidates in the Republican presidential primary are talking about it,” Tom Sifert, a spokesman for the Arizona GOP, told The Hill.
“The state party did not play a direct role in Trump’s visit this weekend, but all the Republican candidates that have visited Arizona in the last few months have had well-attended events, and we expect that tradition to continue,” he said.
Trump’s stop in Phoenix also follows an appearance at FreedomFest in Las Vegas earlier that afternoon.
A Latino heckler challenged Trump’s stance on border security and illegal immigration during a question-and-answer-session there.
“Did the government of Mexico get you to come up here and say this?” Trump asked the man after he said he is “insulted” by Trump’s campaign rhetoric.
“Senor Trump, you’re fired,” the audience member retorted as Trump moved the Q&A session to other participants and reiterating his vow he will build a wall along America’s southern border with Mexico.
Trump has weathered three weeks of international outrage over his formal campaign launch in New York last month.
The New York business mogul sharply criticized Hispanic immigrants and Mexico during the speech June 16.
“They’re sending people who have a lot of problems,” Trump said during his announcement speech at New York City’s Trump Tower.
“They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists,” he added. “And some, I assume, are good people.”
Multiple businesses have since terminated their corporate relationships with the outspoken billionaire.
Macy’s, NASCAR, NBC and Univision have all severed ties with Trump over remarks that critics say are bigoted and racist.
The backlash is not hurting Trump’s place in the polls, however.
A Reuters/Ipsos sampling released Saturday discovered that he is in a virtual deadlock with former Gov. Jeb Bush (R-Fla.) for control of potential Republican voters.
An Economist/YouGov survey published Thursday, meanwhile, had Trump is the preferred GOP nominee for president among 15 percent of respondents.
A third ranking by the left-leaning Public Policy Polling (PPP) firm had him leading the Republican presidential field in North Carolina as well.
Trump’s abrasive remarks are worrying Republican leaders that it is harming their chances with the crucial Hispanic voting bloc next election cycle.
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus reportedly spoke with Trump on Wednesday, requesting that he halt his outbursts on immigration.
Trump has repeatedly ignored the RNC’s requests for a softer tone on the topic in public.
Saturday’s rally offers proof Trump intends on making border security and illegal immigration key portions of his campaign platform.
- Updated at 7:47 p.m.