Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump told thousands in Arkansas Wednesday night that the Clintons have abandoned their home state. Trump also further laid out claims Texas Senator Ted Cruz stole the Iowa caucus.
“Give it up, for your next president of the United States of America, Donald J. Trump! Yes! Yes! Yes!," shouted Trump's opening hype man Jonathan Conneely, the founder of a fitness regime for first responders who calls himself Coach JC.
Barton Coliseum was ready for Donald Trump but the announced crowd of 11,500 had to wait well over an hour because Trump's personal plane was hampered by mechanical problems in Tennessee. It caused him to miss a meeting with Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson.
When he did arrive those on hand made him feel welcome. The New York City billionaire wasted no time tailoring his pugnacious style to the Arkansas locale, the former home of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton .
“Hillary and Bill left Arkansas. They left you folks, they left you. Whether you like or not, they left you,” said Trump
But his attention early on zeroed in on the winner of the Iowa caucus, Texas Senator Ted Cruz , “we don’t need a President who was born in Canada, do we agree?”
He took to twitter the morning of the rally and said the caucus should be re-held.
Based on the fraud committed by Senator Ted Cruz during the Iowa Caucus, either a new election should take place or Cruz results nullified.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 3, 2016
“Oh, that voter fraud. You knew these politicians are brutal,” said Trump in Little Rock, “they’re brutal.”
Trump talked out his claims with the crowd. First criticizing a mailer form the Cruz campaign.
“They send out an application and it looks like it’s sent out by the government and its says ‘voter violation’ at the top. It looks just like it came from the IRS, okay. ‘Voter violation,’ and then it has all sorts of problems and then it says go vote for this guy. And I said, man that’s like a fraud.”
And he commented on Cruz staff suggesting Ben Carson was dropping out of the race.
“They said Ben Carson’s essentially left the race. Vote for this guy, right. I said, how can do they do that? Then everybody said how can he do that?”
That messaged resonated with Mike White who traveled from Memphis. He waited nearly five hours for doors to open and 7 to hear Trump speak.
“Cruz showed his true hand in Iowa. The crook and the liar that son of a gun is, he showed his true hand. He ought to be selling used cars instead of running for president. He is a piece of…work,” said White.
By now Trump’s biggest themes are well known from Iowa to Arkansas.
“What are we going to do at the border folks?” Trump asked. “In unison with Trump the crowd chanted, “build a wall.”
68-year old Seth Pomeroy of Maumelle said Trump stands for an American identity.
“Whose coming into America, what’s happening to us? I’m watching everybody just sit around. Borders, language, this is our lives. If we lose our culture we lose our country. Who are we? I feel Trump is trying to define that,” said Pomeroy.
Arkansas heads to its primary March 1 with 14 other states, six of them Southern. The contest in Arkansas is considerably more open since former Governor Mike Huckabee dropped out of the race after Iowa.