Donald Trump this week finally admitted President Barack Obama was born in the United States, called on his opponent Hillary Clinton to drop her security detail and “see what happens to her” and returned to Colorado buoyed by two recent polls that show him ahead here.
At a rally Saturday night at the Colorado JetCenters in Colorado Springs, Trump opened with the news that a “bomb” had gone off in New York City. Media reports are that Trump was briefed on what little was known about the explosion before taking the stage. Sunday morning, authorities are saying that a homemade pressure-cooker bomb was, in fact, left in a dumpster in the Chelsea neighborhood, where it exploded and injured 29 people. At this time, they don’t believe it’s related to international terrorism.
“I must tell you that just before I got off the plane a bomb went off in New York and nobody knows what’s going on,” Trump said, minutes after stepping off his plane.
He continued: “But boy we are living in a time — we better get very tough, folks. We better get very, very tough. It’s a terrible thing that’s going on in our world, in our country and we are going to get tough and smart and vigilant.”
In contrast, the Associated Press reported, Clinton was more circumspect when she spoke to reporters in New York.
“I think it’s always wiser to wait until you have information before making conclusions, because we are just in the beginning stages of trying to determine what happened,” she said, after saying we should support the first responders and pray for the victims.
The Denver Post reported that Trump went after former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, who was highly critical of Trump in a recent op-ed in the Wall Street Journal. Trump called Gates a “clown” who “doesn’t have a clue” and said Gates allowed the international security situation to deteriorate.
“We’re in worse shape than we were 15 years ago, by a factor of 10,” Trump said. “I like the people who get it done and get it done right.”
Trump told the crowd he has a plan to defeat international terrorists, but he wouldn’t talk about it.
“I will give you good results,” he said. “Don’t worry how I get there, OK?”
Before the rally, Colorado Democratic Chairman Rick Palacio said Trump should apologize for his comments that seemed to suggest violence against Clinton.
“No matter your political affiliation, it is absolutely unacceptable for a Presidential candidate to suggest or insinuate gun violence in any way, shape, or form. Period,” Palacio said in a press release.
Trump did not apologize.
The Denver Post reported that the JetCenters was about a third full.
Trump predicted victory in Colorado based on the recent polling results. Before the rally, volunteers and paid staff fanned out in Colorado Springs to canvass door-to-door.
Republican National Committee spokesperson Ali Pardo told the Colorado Springs Gazette this canvassing effort was a “shift in strategy” from the last two presidential elections.
“We lost in 2008 and we lost in 2012,” Pardo said referring to back-to-back victories by President Barack Obama. “So, we had to change the way we do our ground game.”
Pardo said the Republicans had just 20 staff members assigned to hitting the streets in Colorado in 2012. She said the focus was more on making contact by telephone and reaching out to the undecided electorate during what she called the final “72-hour push.”
“We have to have more of a permanent presence in the community,” she said.
One voter told a canvasser she wants a change in direction.
“I guess it will be Trump,” she said. “But he better be well-behaved.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.