Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump spoke in Florence on Friday night and slammed Washington politicians for making poor deals on the economy, illegal immigration, national security and foreign relations, among other topics.
The campaign rally brought thousands of supporters to the Florence Civic Center two weeks before the Republican primary in South Carolina.
Trump appealed to middle-class voters at the rally and said millions of low- to middle-income jobs are disappearing because of poor economic leadership.
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"I like China but they kill us because their leaders are smarter than our leaders. We have a bunch of hacks trying to make deals," Trump said. "We are led by people that are stupid. We are led by people that are incompetent."
Jabs at the Obama administration, including former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and current Secretary of State John Kerry, were received with an outpouring of cheers from the Florence crowd.
An example of a poor deal Trump used was the exchange of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl for five Guantanamo Bay detainees.
“So that deal, we get Bergdahl, who we know is a traitor, and they get five killers who are back in the field,” Trump said. “What kind of deal is that? It’s a terrible deal.”
Trump called Kerry an incompetent representative for the United States, and said the Iran nuclear deal an “absolute disaster.” He said Kerry doesn’t have the wherewithal to negotiate a deal that will get America out of its $19 trillion deficit.
“We’re helping Germany. Nobody knows this. They’re an economic behemoth and we’re helping them financially,” Trump said. “They have to start helping us. We’re trillion of dollars in debt because nobody can make a good deal.”
Thousands of supporters turned out for the rally, many of whom are tied to Trump as the GOP’s nominee for president.
Several supporters said they have no back-up candidate to place their trust in.
“There is no second choice,” said Carla Young of Florence. “They’re all bought by special interest groups, just like our current president.”
Some supporters were confident that Trump will get the nomination, despite his loss in Iowa.
“Honestly, I don’t think we have to even think about that,” said John Lambert, member of a Students for Trump. “He’s passionate, he’s generated so many dollars of net-worth with no handouts and he doesn’t lose. We didn’t have the best start in Iowa but that’s going to turn around in New Hampshire and South Carolina.”
“None of the other candidates, Republicans or Democrats, can do what Trump's going to do,” said Ray Brigham of Sumter. “I think your everyday people like what he’s saying and all the others are just going along with whatever Washington does. Trump ain’t like that. He’ll get the job done.”