Donald Trump stayed away from the locker room talk at the Newtown Athletic Club Sports Training Center on Friday night.
Instead, the Republican nominee for president came to Newtown and played the hits for a crowd of about 2,000 supporters.
“We’re going to uphold and defend the constitution of the United States,” Trump said toward the end of his speech. “November 8. This is our one magnificent chance to claim the country we love.”
That message, not his offensive comments about women unearthed from a 2005 video, not when he mocked a disabled reporter, not his late-night Twitter activity, is what got people, especially those not usually interested in politics, on board in the first place.
Lisa Rhodes came from Ivyland to see Trump in Newtown. She’s always been a supporter of the Republican Party, but has never been so politically engaged. She called Trump “a breath of fresh air,” and the “change we need.” She’s got signs on her lawn, a bumper sticker on her car. She was one of many in a sea of red Make America Great Again hats.
Some of her friends feel the same way — her comments were briefly interrupted by a “lock her up” chant they all participated in.
But many of them don’t.
“They say they hate both candidates, and they’re not going to vote for either,” she said. “Oh, that’s a good answer. Go stick your head in the sand.
“I’ve learned so much during this election, and I’m so glad that I listened and stepped up and got involved.”
Travis Bennett certainly picked his candidate. The 17-year-old from Ewing, New Jersey made the trip with his four buddies, all too young to vote.
“Unfortunately, I’m not going to be able to vote against Hillary,” he said, his friends nodding in agreement. “Everybody in this room might hate her as much as I do. I think that is a big reason we’re all here.”
He doesn’t just hate Clinton. He thinks the United States needs to pay down its national debt. That’s the main reason he stands behind Trump. But he’s not with him on everything.
“I’m disgusted by what he said,” Bennett said of the 2005 video. “As much as we want to try to deny it, it really was horrible. I think it really destroyed his campaign.”
Still, he found the same silver lining as Rhodes.
“He took a lot of people who didn’t really care about politics, and made them engaged,” he said. “I think that’s a blessing in itself. That’s why I’m here.”
Trump came on stage to Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA,” and the crowd erupted like the house lights dimmed at a rock show.
He told them he was going to build a wall on the southern border and Mexico is going to pay for it. He said Hillary Clinton is the most corrupt politician to ever run for president. He said he’s going to impose term limits on Congress. He said American products will be sent around the world, not its jobs. He said he will make America great again.
“I think I’ve heard all the same stuff a bunch of times, watching the news. There were no surprises,” Rob Schafer of Southampton said. “It was worth the visit though. I had a great time.”
He wasn’t alone in his sentiments. With Trump, supporters know what they’re getting, and embrace it, warts and all.
“Humans are flawed. We understand that. But what’s more important is the direction of the country,” Lower Southampton resident James Timmons said. “It’s nice to know a lot of people have their head on right, that you’re not alone.”