On Thursday night, President Donald Trump energized an arena full of 20,000 supporters at his campaign rally in Dallas.
For those who have attended other Trump rallies, many of the sights were the same. Supporters of all ages and backgrounds, seated up to the rafters for the chance to see President Trump in the flesh as he delivered an hour-long speech. Per usual, he spent the evening highlighting his accomplishments, taking shots at Democrats, and, of course, often departing from prepared remarks.
Only this time, the walls and signs inside the American Airlines Center were lit up with “Keep America Great!” rather than the familiar slogan “Make America Great Again!” which so heavily defined many of his previous rallies. Indeed, this rally was different, as it was the first one Trump has held in the Lone Star State since officially announcing his campaign for re-election in June. Trump had previously held a rally in El Paso in February during which he advocated heavily for a wall on the southern border against opposition from Democrats in Congress.
It did, however, get off to a late start as, according to campaign manager Brad Parscale, they needed more time to accommodate those in line. By the time Trump began his remarks, virtually every seat in the arena was seemingly filled by an energetic supporter.
Once Trump took the stage, it didn’t take long for him to begin firing at the Democrat party.
“The more America succeeds, the more hateful and enraged these crazy Democrats become,” he told the crowd, referring to ongoing impeachment attempts by congressional Democrats. “For years Democrats have been trying to overthrow the results of a great, great election. Maybe the greatest election in the history of our country.”
“I don’t really believe anymore that they love our country,” he later said to thunderous applause.
“The radical Democrats want to destroy America as we know it. They want to indoctrinate our children and teach them that America is a sinful and wicked nation,” Trump added.
As Trump’s speech carried on, he continued highlighting his accomplishments on the border wall, the economy, and foreign policy.
“The Kurds are going to move back a little bit and we are going to keep ISIS locked up,” Trump said referring to his decision to withdraw troops and Kurdish support in Syria after 15 years of conflict.
“Turkey is going to be happy, the Kurds are going to be happy, and ISIS is going to be unhappy,” he added.
At one point, Trump mentioned former Texas Congressman and current Democrat Presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke and his recent calls for gun confiscation and targeting the IRS status of churches, saying he didn’t believe such a plan would be popular in Texas.
The “boos” from those in attendance suggested he was right.
O’Rourke was far from the only Democrat candidate Trump took aim at, also landing jabs at Elizabeth “Pocahontas” Warren, as well as “Sleepy” Joe Biden and his son Hunter’s quid pro quo deal with Ukraine.
Trump also took the time to acknowledge the slate of congressmen and state leaders in attendance, including both U.S. Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz. He also addressed the recent news that former Texas Governor Rick Perry would be stepping down from his role as Energy Secretary.
“He’s going to be leaving at the end of the year,” Trump confirmed, adding that he believed he did a great job during his three years.
The rally comes just days after an audio recording was released revealing Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen argued Trump was “killing” Republicans in urban and suburban districts. Trump Campaign Communications Director Tim Murtaugh told Texas Scorecard he disagreed with the sentiment.
“We just don’t see that,” he said, adding that he believed Trump would be an asset in 2020.
Murtaugh also indicated that, while they were unsure if there would be another Texas rally ahead of November 2020, retaining the state would be a major priority for the campaign.
“The president won [Texas] by nine points last time. But this is not a state that we will take for granted.”