The hundreds turned into thousands outside and then inside the Winthrop Coliseum on Friday to hear the one and only Donald Trump. The rich Trump. The Trump who tells off candidates, media and naysayers, while bellowing that he is great.
For these faithful, who all called themselves “regular people,” Trump is their only candidate who tells it like it really is.
For them, Trump is bluster and reality – and they love it. Trump speaks for them in a country where they say they have become forgotten and ridiculed.
“Political correctness, the unwillingness of people to really tell the truth, that’s why this country is in this mess, and Donald Trump is not scared to say the truth,” said Rocky Barrett, a Rock Hill small business owner. “Trump knows what business needs and it needs him. There is no other choice out there.”
The country’s slide into mediocrity can only be fixed by Trump, Barrett said.
“Trump is going to put a stop to all of it.”
Donna Neely of Rock Hill, wearing a rhinestone USA hat, said Trump is the only chance for “real people” to take back the country.
“Securing the borders, building the wall, repealing Obamacare, Trump is all we have,” Neely said.
Trump’s stance on illegal immigration – “illegals must go” – was a huge hit among the gathering crowd.
“When he spoke up against illegals, and said America and Americans first, that really fired me up,” said Keith Gordon of Rock Hill. “Look around, every job site, every construction crew, who is working? Illegals. Taking our jobs.”
Many said the election is crucial after eight years of an Obama administration that Trump supporters said is against regular people.
“We are going to get somebody who cares about America, instead of these idiots we got there now,” said David Neely, a retired Vietnam War combat veteran from Rock Hill. “Executive privilege with this guy up there has gotten outta hand. That’s not the people. It’s that guy who is president.”
David Neely is so disgusted with what he said is weak leadership that he could not even say Obama’s name.
“That guy up there – terrible,” he said.
Ronny Bazemore of Rock Hill said Trump is “somebody who is gonna take care of America and get rid of these deadbeats up there in Washington. Trump will make America great like it used to be.”
Pat McClure of Riverside, Calif., traveled more than 3,000 miles to see Trump, and said it was “well worth every inch.”
“He doesn’t lie,” McClure said of Trump. “The administration we got now, lies. All of them.”
McClure said that he lives just 10 miles from where radical Muslims killed more than a dozen people in San Bernadino. McClure, like dozens Friday, has “no problem” with Trump’s proposed ban on Muslim immigration until the country can make sure that immigrants are not radical killers.
“What is there to say? Muslims went in and killed a bunch of people,” said McClure, a Vietnam War combat veteran. “You are unarmed, you get shot. They were unarmed they couldn’t fight back. I believe in fighting back. You should be able to pack (guns) in any state, but right now they want to take our guns away. Not Trump.”
The themes of guns, Muslims and immigration rang strong with the people thrilled to see Trump in person. In conservative York County, in conservative South Carolina, Trump is their only choice among other politicians these people see as windbags and opportunists.
Lorraine Slazas of Lancaster County urged on the crowd to cheers of “Trump! Trump! Trump!”
Her husband, Paul Slazas, said, “Trump says what this country needs to hear, finally – the truth. He’s not against Muslims. He wants a temporary ban until we can make sure that everything is safe. Immigration, he wants it done legally. He’s saying what needs to happen. That is not un-American. That is good sense.”
Jeff Leazer of Rock Hill doesn’t agree with Trump’s Muslim stance and believes Trump is “a little overboard on immigration,” but said overall Trump is head and shoulders above the crowd of other candidates too weak and too cowardly to speak the truth.
“We didn’t do any good with Obama. It’s time to straighten this mess in this country out and Trump can do it,” Leazer said.
Brian Pierce, also of Rock Hill, had this to say about the other Republican candidates and the weak Democrats running against Trump: “They can’t do anything – absolutely nothing.”
Pierce said insider Republicans have caved to Democrats in secret deals, but Trump will handle ISIS, immigration and the economy.
“The middle class is just about gone, and Trump is the only one who knows how to create a single job,” Pierce said.
John Stewart of rural Catawba in York County summed it up for the huge crowd – blue collar people who until now have had no one to grab onto as the one guy to look out for them. Just because Trump has uncountable millions and is rich makes no difference, Stewart said.
“Donald Trump is saying the things that me and everybody I talk to has been thinking and saying for so long,” Stewart said. “He’s saying the things we have been thinking and has the guts to say them to the country.”
Those things are stop illegal immigration, hammer ISIS and any radicals, and stop being a country filled with wimps.
“For regular people, Trump is our only shot,” Stewart said.