Trump veers off script at Fla. rally









Donald Trump is wrapping up his remarkable presidential bid just as it began, delivering a boastful, take-no-prisoners, often unscripted speech in Tampa Saturday that saw him bragging about polls again even as he complained about a “rigged system.”
It was vintage Trump: He started out attacking rapper Jay Z and briefly read from his scripted remarks about the Affordable Care Act before launching into a long, seemingly off-the-cuff riff on his polling numbers and the “dishonest
“Anyway, with Obamacare, getting back to the boring subject,” Trump said 13 minutes into his nearly hour-long remarks.
The speech showcased a candidate who is trying hard to be more disciplined and stay on message in the final days of the campaign but can’t resist firing back at critics and airing assorted grievances, all while confidently asserting that “we’re doing well everywhere.” He even grabbed a baby out of the crowd at one point, holding the child up and declaring “that’s an early Trump fan.”
Just three days before Election Day, Trump opened his rally at the Florida State Fairgrounds by criticizing Jay Z for using profanities during a concert supporting Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton.
“I never said what he said in my life but that shows you the phoniness of politicians and the phoniness of the whole system,” Trump said, implying Clinton was a hypocrite for criticizing his “lewd” language in the past.
Trump also seized on the Jay Z concert and large campaign events held by President Barack Obama to argue that Clinton can’t draw big crowds on her own.
“She can’t campaign for herself, nobody shows up to her meetings, the only way she gets them to show up is when she has a star,” Trump said.
Obama has been a regular on the campaign trail for Clinton — he is holding a rally outside of Orlando Sunday — and that seems to be irking Trump. He said the president, who is ending his eight years in office with a strong approval rating and could be critical in helping Clinton mobilize young people and minorities, is “Screaming and screaming and screaming. Just like the way he runs the country. Nobody listens to him. Screaming.”
Trump went on to acknowledge his seemingly schizophrenic relationship with public opinion polls. While continuing to complain about “phony” polls Saturday, he simultaneously bragged about how well he is doing.
“They do these phony polls,” Trump said. “Some of the polls are good. I only really acknowledge them if I’m winning.”
“And by the way, we’re winning in a lot of polls,” he added as the crowd erupted in applause. “We don’t have enough time to talk about it there’s too many of them.”
That didn’t mean Trump was ready to stop talking about the system being “rigged” against him. He took special aim at the media.
“It’s a rigged system folks. I’ve been saying it’s a rigged system and it begins with the media because the media rigs it,” Trump said. “It’s the greatest pile on in the history of politics.”
Trump drew a few thousand people to the Fairground’s Special Events center Saturday. Some supporters said they have been feeling more confident in recent days.
Hudson resident Sue Peterson said the last-minute revelation that the FBI is still investigating Clinton’s email use as secretary of state is “Huuuuuuuge".
“I think the momentum’s in our favor,” said Peterson, 64.
Rick Comerford, a 56-year-old former Green Beret who rode to the Trump event with a group of biker friends who all served in the Special Forces, said he doesn’t believe the race is even close. He predicted “a landslide, like with Reagan.”
“Look at this,” Comerford said, pointing to the large crowd in front of him, adding “People for Trump are motivated, I think the other side is not motivated.”
Comerford said he’s a big fan of Trump’s plan to build up the military and his positions on trade and foreign relations.
“Globalism is not something we can sustain at this point in our evolution,” he said.
Recounting his victory over U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio in Florida’s presidential primary, when he won 66 of 67 counties, Trump predicted another big win in a state where polls show him neck and neck with Clinton.