23 October 2016
Trump asks Floridians to back GOP congressional candidates but jabs faithless Republicans in the next breath: 'It would be nice if they help us too, right?'
· Trump asks Floridians to back GOP congressional candidates but jabs faithless Republicans in the next breath: 'It would be nice if they help us too, right?'
· Donald Trump set aside his slap-fight with the Republican Party on Sunday
· Said he wants Florida voters to support GOP candidates for Congress
· But then jabbed that he expected the same kind of love in return
· Trump landed in his helicopter after crossing the Everglade
· Rally in Naples kicks off a three-day swing through crucial Florida
· Despite trailing in polls, Trump insisted he's winning in the Sunshine State
· Warm-up speaker said she wanted to dress as Hillary Clinton for Halloween and decided on a vampire 'because frankly, Hillary sucks'
Donald Trump was in full-on Santa Claus mode two months early, promising Florida voters a sack full of perks on Sunday if they send him to the White House.
The billionaire promoted his promised defense buildup as a regional boon to Florida's military bases and made new environmental protection commitments to address Florida-specific problems.
He also made a rare pitch for a unified ticket with the Republican Party, asking an outdoor audience in the southwestern corner of the state to send him to Washington with renewed GOP majorities in both houses of Congress.
Trump has crossed swords with the Republican National Committee and with House Speaker Paul Ryan over and over since claiming the presidential nomination. Even as he threw his support behind his party's down-ticket candidates, he threw an elbow at the chorus of politicians who have thrown him under the bus.
'You have to get out and vote, and that includes helping me re-elect Republicans all over the place,' he said at the Collier County fairgrounds.
'I hope they help me too! It would be nice if they help us too, right?'
'With a Republican House and Senate, we will immediately repeal and replace the disaster known as Obamacare,' he added.
Trump drove the point home, in a way he has seldom done, that if Democrats regain a majority in either congressional chamber, many of his legislative priorities would be declared dead-on-arrival on Capitol Hill.
Unspoken but hanging heavy in the air was the re-election battle of Sen. Marco Rubio, the man Trump once demeaned as 'Little Marco' but whose help he would need in Washington.
Rubio leads his Democratic challenger Patrick Murphy by just 2 percentage points in the most recent pair of statewide polls.
Trump himself trails rival Hillary Clinton in Florida by an average of 4 points, according to data compiled by Real Clear Politics.
But he insisted opinion polls don't tell the full story of what's to come on Nov. 8, hinting at the 'silent majority' groundswell his campaign is counting on.
'Numbers are looking phenomenal in Florida. Don't believe the media,' Trump said.
He also declared that pollsters are not accurately capturing his support among female voters, even as one woman after another accuses him of sexual misconduct.
'I really think those polls are very inaccurate when it comes to women,' Trump said. 'I think we're doing better with women than with men!
At that, a small contingent of female voices near the back of his crowd chanted 'Women for Trump!'
Much of the Republican's ask on Sunday leaned heavily on the economic impact of more defense spending on Florida's crucial military communities.
'If you elect me, along with a Republican House and Senate, we will also immediately repeal the Obama-Clinton Defense sequester,' he said, referring to a package of budget cuts, 'and rebuild our badly depleted military.'
'This defense buildup will be supported by ships in Mayport and by engineers and advanced manufacturing on the space coast,' he declared to loud cheers. 'New aircraft will fly from MacDill Air Force Base and Naval Air Station Pensacola.'
'New Navy and Coast Guard ships will patrol the Florida coast to prevent drugs and terrorists from entering our cities,' Trump added.
In a bid for centrist Republicans and crossover Democrats, the nominee promised 'to restore and protect the beautiful Florida Everglades,' which he flew over on the way to Naples in his custom Sikorsky helicopter.
'Let me tell you – when you fly over the Everglades and you look at those gators, and you look at those water moccasins going, you say, "I'd better have a good helicopter!"' he joked.
'I told the pilot, "You sure we're okay? Those are big!" ... That's a rough-looking site down there. You don't want to be down there, right?'
Trump also pledged funding to 'upgrade water and waste water – and you know you have a huge problem with waste water – so that the Florida aquifer is pure and safe from pollution. We have to do it.'
And in what might be the most laser-targeted earmark-promise of his campaign, he said his administration 'will also repair the Herbert Hoover dike in Lake Okeechobee – a lake I'm very familiar with.'
Trump's Naples crowd was more ethnically diverse than those on his Saturday schedule, with a sizable Latino contingent and a sprinkling of African-Americans holding 'Blacks for Trump' signs.
He made a specific appeal to Hispanics, tyring to connect with south Florida's Cuban emigres and the Venezuelan-American community that he said surrounds his Trump National Doral Golf Club 110 miles to the east
'All across Latin America, people are living in oppression,' Trump said.
'The Obama-Clinton administration has abandoned our friends in Latin America, and delivered only poverty and joblessness for Hispanic Americans right here at home. You know what's going on.'
Trump's chopper landed Sunday as theme music from the Harrison Ford movie 'Air Force One' blared over loudspeakers, setting down on a patch of grass marked off by a grid of orange spray paint.
'Look at all that media!' Trump said as he took the microphone, reflecting on what he had seen from the air. 'And look at all those antenna trucks at a couple million [dollars] apiece. They have to understand that this is a movement.'
The affable tycoon was in his element, showing no signs of fatigue as Election Day looms just two weeks and two days in the future.
'Hopefully we're going to have Trump rallies for eight years!' he chuckled at one point. 'After that, let someone else do it.'
Trump's emphasis on Florida issues and his new focus on a 'first 100 days' agenda he rolled out Saturday in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania overshadowed the direct assault on Clinton that occupied more than half of his 47-minute speech.
But he wrapped up his Hillary angst in a few lines that brought boos from about 3,000 partisans.
'If you want four more years of ISIS growing, if you want four more years of higher taxes, if you want four more years of Obamacare, then Let Hillary Clinton have it,' he said.
'But boy, folks, you're gonna be miserable.'
Drawing the now-common chant of 'Lock her up!' Trump renewed his verbal jab at the former secretary of state as 'the embodiment of government corruption,' and cast her as a money-hungry oligarch who would auction off the federal government's executive branch to foreign nations.
'My goal is to keep foreign money out of American politics,' Trump said. 'Hillary's goal is to put the Oval office up for sale to whatever country offers up the highest price. That's what she does.'
The best anti-Clinton zinger came a half-hour before the presidential hopeful took the stage, however.
A warm-up speaker said she had planned to go out on Halloween dressed as Clinton.
'I tried my best witch costume,' she said, drawing laughs, but ultimately announced she had 'decided on a vampire. Because frankly, Hillary sucks.'