Hillary Clinton was wrong, and things are not okay. If you elect Donald Trump, they’ll be more than okay. They’ll be great. And even more importantly, they’ll be safe.
That was the message Trump took to a crowd of several thousand people at Wings over the Rockies Air and Space Museum Friday evening.
It was his second Colorado appearance the day after Clinton’s acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention. She rejected the negative view of the state of the country that Trump had offered in his own convention speech the week before and questioned whether he was really fit for office.
Trump bragged about his Nielsen ratings being higher than hers and called her speech “cliche after cliche.”
I was told that the airplane hangar that constitutes Wings over the Rockies can hold up to 6,500 people. There probably weren’t quite that many, but the venue felt full and the crowd’s cheers turned into roars in the massive empty space above it.
Trump described people left behind by the economic recovery. People who have stopped looking for work. Children living in poverty. A decline in household income.
“We have people standing in this room who make less money in real wages than they did 18 years ago, and they didn’t have to work as hard, and they were a hell of a lot younger,” he said. “It should be the other way around.”
This was a huge applause line.
Trump pushed back against the critics who called his convention speech “dark.” Someone yelled, “It was real!”
“It was optimistic because I talk about the problems and we are going to fix the problems,” Trump said. “Like radical Islamic terrorism! It’s a huge problem.”
There was a deep contempt for Clinton in the room.
Trump swung from NAFTA to Syrian refugees, the Iran deal, Benghazi and the controversy over Clinton’s private email server.
Clinton “lied like a dog,” he said. “She put us all at risk.”
One man yelled, “Traitor!” And then, “Hang her!” The crowd started in on “LOCK HER UP!” and the man got with the program.
Trump swings from topic to topic, often within the same paragraph, but he hits all his key points.
“We are going to build the wall,” he said. “Mexico is going to pay for the wall 100 percent. 100 percent. We are going to stop the drugs from pouring into our country and poisoning our youth. We are going to stop people who are not supposed to be here from coming into our country.”
Trump described a call from a reporter — a very big one, even if he has a slight liberal tinge — who said: “It doesn’t matter whether you win or lose. You will be in the history books.”
“I stopped him right there,” Trump said. “I said, ‘If I don’t win — meaning if I don’t beat Crooked Hillary — she is as crooked as a $3 bill — if I don’t beat Crooked Hillary in November, this will have been an enormous waste of time, energy and money.’ Believe me. I’m not looking to be in history books. Unless it’s at the top where you do something great. Which is what we’re going to do.”
Trump frequently tells a fable at his rallies: The Snake.
“It pertains to people coming across our border,” he said. “It pertains to people coming from Syria that we have no idea who they are. Remember. They cut the heads off people. … This is like medieval times.”
The point is clear even before he describes a woman taking pity on a nearly frozen snake and bringing it into her home.
“A vicious bite!” the crowed yelled together when the woman experiences the natural consequences of her misplaced pity
“I’m going to die!” Trump screamed, portraying the woman.
“You knew damn well I was a snake before you took me in,” the snake responds. “So that’s where we are,” Trump segued.
America is losing. Stupid people represent us.
“When I was in high school, they said America had never lost a war. Now we always lose,” Trump said.
Trump promised to help American win again, but he also promised to make America safe again, using that word over and over.
As the speech built to its crescendo, the crowd roared at each applause line — we’re going to win with trade, win on the border, win with education, win with the Second Amendment, win for our vets.
“We are going to make the Denver Broncos look like a team that doesn’t even do so well by our winning percentage,” he said.
When Trump is president, he said, we’ll go to the White House and tell him we’re winning too much.
“Mr. President, you’re winning too much. It’s no good, Mr. President! We’re not used to it in our country. We never won, and now you’re winning too much.”
“We’re going to make America great again. We’re going to make America greater than ever before. We are going to make America SAFER, SAFER, SAFER than ever before.”
There was enormous applause.
And just like that it was over, and the crowd was filing out to the Rolling Stones song that has become Trump’s apparent theme song (the Stones have asked that he stop).
“You can’t always get what you want.”
I hung back from the throng of people leaving at the end of the night. It was a lot of people who had just had their hatred of the media stoked and had screamed at the press pen on their way out (though the people I interviewed before the rally were perfectly pleasant to me).
I waited in a smaller line to buy a bottle of water. The older man in front of me struck up a conversation about planes and then we talked about school field trips and kids and the very cool King Tut exhibit that was at the Denver Art Museum a few years ago.
After we had our water, he noticed that the trash can was full of recyclable cardboard and plastic while the blue bin was empty. And one by one, he got every soda case and bottle and can in its proper place.
Here’s the full speech: