Twenty thousand people in support of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump converged on the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheater in Tampa late Monday, filling every seat, to celebrate the nominee’s fast and furious campaigning across the state on the first day of early voting.

Among those speaking ahead of Trump were Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, who said eight years of President Barack Obama’s intrusion into state’s rights and lack of job creation was enough.

“I’ve been hoping and praying for eight years that we will make America great again,” said Bondi. “You know what? Eight years is long enough. I believe in job creation and for the last eight years we’ve been seeing jobs go overseas. You know what? Eight years is enough. I believe in getting rid of ISIS and tyrants abroad. For the last eight years we’ve seen the world on edge and you know what? Eight years is enough.”

Trump took the stage only a few minutes late and first hugged the American flag before addressing the packed amphitheater to shouts of “USA!”

While Trump has been criticized for saying the system is rigged, he said the best evidence continues to be Hillary Clinton’s “many crimes. She deleted 30,000 emails, 13 phones disappeared with a hammer and then told the FBI she couldn’t remember anything 39 times. And she runs for president? Just a little while ago one of the closest people to Hillary Clinton gave $675,000 to the campaign of the spouse of a FBI official, who helped oversee the investigation into Clinton’s illegal email server. She’s Crooked Hillary folks.”

Trump said, “Hillary Clinton hasn’t done anything for anyone, but herself. She hasn’t done anything for the inner city, she has abused the African American community, she has abused the Hispanic community. They do nothing. They promise things, get the votes and say, ‘See you in four years.’ She lies. She lies more than any other human being.”

Trump said he will turn the country around because, “We are all one America. Forgotten men and women will not be forgotten anymore. I see you, I hear you and I will never, ever let you down. I promise. I will be your voice and I will fight harder than anyone else has ever fought for you and I will win because I know to win.”

Trump laid out his plan for his first 100 days in office. “I will cancel every illegal Obama executive order, will appoint great justices to the United State Supreme Court, we’ll cancel all federal funding to sanctuary cities, we’ll remove all illegal and criminal immigrants from our country and repeal and replace Obamacare.”

Hours before Trump took the stage, thousands were lined up for more than a mile hoping to get into the venue. Not everyone did. At the front of the long line stood Patrick McShane, from Winter Garden, who arrived before 11 a.m. Tuesday morning, a full 8 hours before Trump was to arrive.

“We want him to win,” said McShane. “We want him to make America great again.”

While national polls have seen the Republican nominee trailing Clinton, McShane isn’t convinced that the polls are an accurate reflection. He pointed to the long line behind him.

“You don’t see this at Clinton rallies,” said McShane. “I think a lot of people are frustrated and say they are not going to vote. I don’t think those people are being considered in the polls and come Election Day, they will go out and vote their conscious because the alternative is unacceptable.”

Andrea Whitres, is a first generation Cuban American, whose mother escaped the military dictatorship for the American dream. She said her mother has been “horrified” about the path the Democratic Party has taken over the last several years.

“Donald Trump cares for the American people,” she said. “Hillary Clinton cares about her wealthy cronies and herself. My family has seen the push Hillary Clinton is making toward socialism and globalism. My mother is horrified at what she’s seeing. The Democratic Party is not what it used to be.”

Sherry Vanbuategem is a Canadian American and said she supports Trump.

“Donald Trump tells it like he is,” she said. “He tells the truth and is very communicative of the issues facing this country. The American people are fed up with the lies of Hillary Clinton and the lies of the media. We aren’t stupid. The American people are waking up and we’re not going to take this anymore.”


(c)2016 The Bradenton Herald (Bradenton, Fla.)

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