Trump rallies in St. Augustine during final campaign stretch

Photo by Julie Householder

By Katie Garwood|

With just two weeks until the general election, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has ramped up his campaign schedule, especially in Florida—a pivotal swing state—making a stop in St. Augustine on Monday afternoon.

Hundreds of people lined the sidewalk along State Road A1A outside the St. Augustine Amphitheatre to see Trump, where he spoke to a packed house of about 4,000. Many were turned away once the venue reached capacity.

Before the rally, Trump met with St. Johns County sheriff’s officers and firefighters.

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former Jacksonville sheriff John Rutherford and Congressman Ron DeSantis spoke at the rally to encourage early voting and condemn President Obama’s administration as well as Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s email scandal and campaign platform.

“If you want to stay in the same direction we’re going in—decline—vote for Hillary Clinton,” Giuliani said. “If you want change, and you want to make America great again, who are you going to vote for?” The crowd loudly responded, “Donald Trump.”

Photo by Julie Householder

Photo by Julie Householder

Trump emphasized the importance of early voting and getting out to the polls on Election Day. Trump told the crowd he’s leading in Ohio and Iowa, assuring them “we’re going to win the whole thing.”

“People of this country are fed up with stupidity and weakness and we can’t beat ISIS, and all the problems we’ve got going, they’re fed up,” Trump said. “And you know what else? They’re fed up with losing their jobs to other countries.”

Trump laid out his promises to the people for his first 100 days in office if he’s elected. Those promises include getting rid of Obamacare “immediately,” ending government corruption, instituting term limits on members of Congress and implementing a hiring freeze on all non-essential federal government employees. He also said that for every regulation, two must go away, banning government employees from becoming lobbyists after retiring.

He also shared plans to protect American workers by renegotiating NAFTA, withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, lifting restrictions on oil and natural gas, developing clean coal, approving the Keystone pipeline and canceling payments to U.N. climate-change programs. He also told the crowd he would send all illegal immigrants in the U.S. back to the countries from which they came.

Photo by Julie Householder

Photo by Julie Householder

Both Trump and his supporters attacked Clinton for her email scandal, with some in the crowd waving “Hillary for Prison” signs. At any mention of the FBI’s investigation of Clinton’s deleted emails, the crowd broke into chants of “lock her up.” Trump said the FBI letting Clinton “off the hook” is one of the “saddest moments in the history of our country.”

“The best evidence that our system is rigged is the fact that Hillary Clinton, despite her many crimes, was even allowed to run for president in the first place,” Trump said of his opponent.

Unlike other past presidential nominees, Trump stressed the fact that he started his campaign as an “outsider” and not a career politician. He said for change to occur, it must come from the outside.

“I am not a politician, and I never wanted to be a politician, believe me,” Trump said. “I ran because this country has been good to me. I love America. I could not stand by and watch what was happening to our great country. I didn’t want to do it.”

Trump denounced the news media in his speech, saying that it is “entitled” and “condescending” toward those “who don’t share their elitist views.”

“I see you and I hear you,” Trump told the crowd. “I am your voice.  We will make America wealthy again, we will make America strong again, we will make America safe again and we will make America great again.”

Trump is expected to appear in Sanford and Tallahassee on Tuesday to round out this week’s Florida tour.

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