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Trump relives his election in Alabama victory tour stop

Donald Trump in Mobile, Ala. AP file

Donald Trump in Mobile, Ala. AP file

Our AJC colleague Alan Judd was in Mobile on Saturday to catch Donald Trump’s event. He sent us this feed from the event:

MOBILE, Ala. – President-elect Donald Trump used the final stop on his victory tour Saturday to settle a few scores, criticize the media and relive his “bigly” win on Nov. 8.

Trump, who spoke for more than an hour in a Mobile football stadium, took an audience of several thousand through a state-by-state recap of election results, repeatedly saying that “dishonest” reporters had falsely predicted he couldn’t win.

“We were set up” by the media, Trump said, prompting one audience member to loudly cry out, “Liars!”

“Only in Alabama can we do that,” Trump responded. “ ‘Liars.’”

“Very, very dishonest,” he said. “They all know what they’re doing, but it didn’t work, and that’s why we’re all here together.”

By speaking at Mobile’s Ladd-Peebles Stadium, the site of next Friday’s Dollar General Bowl, Trump reprised one of the earliest rallies of his presidential campaign. As many as 30,000 people heard him speak here in August 2015 at an event that Alabama partisans claim gave Trump the momentum to win the Republican nomination and the general election.

Eight days before Christmas and with intermittent rain, Saturday’s crowd was considerably smaller – but enthusiastic, nevertheless. Several times, the audience erupted in cheers that were staples of Trump’s campaign rallies: “Build that wall!” and “Lock her up!”

To the latter, a reference to his opponent, Hillary Clinton, Trump said, “Nah – we won.”

He mocked the Clinton campaign’s overconfidence, claiming it spent $7 million on fireworks for its victory celebration on election night.

“Fireworks just don’t work when you lose,” Trump said. “Just to be cute, we sent an offer in. We offered to buy their fireworks for five cents on the dollar. … We never heard back from them.”

Trump also criticized Republicans who opposed his election and even some of his primary opponents, even though “we’re all friends now.”

He promised to erect a wall at the Mexican border, to renegotiate trade deals and to restrict immigration from regions that don’t perform “extreme vetting” of people trying to come to the United States.

“I am going to keep radical Islamic terrorists the hell out of our country,” he said to wild cheers. “We have no choice.”

For many in the crowd, the day was a chance to celebrate and to demonstrate their disgust with what Trump calls political correctness. A large Christmas tree sat atop one section of stadium seats, and several speakers pointedly expressed Christmas wishes rather than the more neutral “happy holidays.”

The audience began filing into the stadium more than three hours before the rally was scheduled to begin. A band played “Sweet Home Alabama,” and several clusters of young women dressed in brightly colored antebellum dresses posed for pictures on the football field.

A merchandise table under one goal post sold Trump hoodies for $50, Trump T-shirts for $25, “USA” hats for $40 and “Make America Great” hats for $25. Business was brisk.

Many in the crowd said they had been here last August for a rally that, according to Alabama partisans, gave Trump crucial momentum entering the final months of the campaign.

Dixie Clark, of Pensacola, saw Trump at that event, as well as three times in Pensacola and once in Biloxi, Mississippi. Before the first Mobile rally, she wasn’t convinced Trump was her candidate.

“I always loved the Clintons,” said Clark, who wore a red polo shirt that read, “Trump It or Lump It.”

At Trump’s rallies, she said, “something just wraps you up. This man – I don’t know. I just love him to death.”

She quickly overcame her only qualm.

“I’m Hispanic,” she said. At the earlier Mobile rally, “I was the only Hispanic here. Biloxi, the same thing.” But now, she said. “I don’t care.”

Todd Moses of Mobile wore a black T-shirt with large white lettering that declared, “LOCK HER UP.” He never thought Hillary Clinton had a chance to beat Trump.

Moses, who works in construction, praised Trump’s anti-immigrant stance, his promises to expand economic opportunity to the middle class and his tough rhetoric about dealing with terrorist groups.

But Moses said he decided which issues mattered and found the candidate who most closely expressed his own views.

“He didn’t wake me up,” Moses said. “Fox News didn’t wake me up.”

Years ago, Moses said, he stopped paying attention to “the mainstream media.” He gets his own information on the Internet.

“I don’t read newspapers. I don’t watch local news. I don’t watch any network television programs. And I’m as well informed as anybody out here.”


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