Trump’s platform is a hit with enthusiastic Capital Region crowd

trump 3About 15,000 people showed their support for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, at a rally in Albany on Monday to hear him speak on the issues of immigration, trade relations, employment and national security.

Hundreds of protesters assembled outside of the Times Union center, where the rally was held, to voice their opposition to Trump’s policies regarding Muslims, immigration and women. Many held up signs reading “No Hate in Our State” and “Love Trumps Hate.”  There were some verbal arguments that almost turned to physical altercations, but police officers quickly intervened.

Five protesters were forcibly ejected from the rally.  This has been a common occurrence at other Trump rallies.  Recently, Trump has been portrayed by some media as “inciting violence” against protesters.

In Albany, he made it a point for his audience to not inflict any harm on the protesters.  Instead, supporters repeatedly shouted “Trump, Trump, Trump” while the protesters were escorted by security personnel.

“Our rallies are among the most safe rallies you can ever attend, because we protect each other, now get him out,” said Trump, as one protester was led out of the arena.

In regards to the issue of immigrants attempting to cross over the U.S.-Mexico border, Trump said drugs are being smuggled into the states from Mexico and that “we treat illegal immigrants, in many cases, better than our veterans.”

As for the issue of housing Syrian refugees, the candidate said, “We’re taking them in by the thousands, and we have no idea where they’re coming from and who they’re representing.”

Trump said, as president, he would help build a “safe zone” in Syria, but he would make the Gulf states fund it because “we don’t have the money, we’ve dissipated our jobs.” He also claimed many of the Syrian refugees have cell phones with “bad symbols” on them, including the ISIS flag.

“Bad trade deals” were another prominent topic of discussion at the rally. Trump voiced his opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a massive “free trade” agreement among the U.S. and 11 other countries — Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.  He said this agreement is taking jobs away from U.S. workers and bringing down wages.  Democratic candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders has also spoken out against the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Trump said that because of our $58 billion trade deficit with Mexico, they will have to pay for his proposed wall along the U.S.-Mexican border, which he says will cost an estimated $10 billion.

“Fifteen thousand border people just endorsed me and we’re going to build a wall the likes of which you’ve never seen before,” Trump said.

The Albany-area Trump supporters at Monday’s rally were quite enthusiastic. Those present were of all ages, with a lot of families and their children, holding up posters and sporting apparel with Trump’s signature slogans: “Make America Great Again” and “The silent majority stands with Trump.” They chanted “Build the Wall!” and “U.S.A.!” Several times following Trump’s statements.

Trump singled out the other presidential candidates, both Democrat and Republican.  For example, he called Texas Sen. Ted Cruz a “liar” multiple times; he called out both Cruz and Ohio Governor John Kasich for supporting the TPP.  And he had a lot to say about Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

“She got us into Libya; you look at Benghazi,” he said.

Trump added, “She voted for the war in Iraq; Hillary Clinton does not have the judgment to be president,” he said.

Speaking to the upstate crowd, Trump expressed his concerns regarding the loss of manufacturing jobs across New York since the 1960s.  Specifically, he noted that New York has lost three-out-of-four manufacturing jobs since the 1960s and that Albany has lost 1,500 private-sector jobs since just last year.

Currently, Trump is leading in the polls in New York. According to a Quinnipiac University poll released Tuesday, relative to GOP candidates Gov. John Kasich and Sen. Ted Cruz, Trump is at 55 percent, followed by Kasich who is at 20 percent and Cruz at 19 percent.

A poll conducted by the Siena Research Institute, released Wednesday, indicates that if the Republican primary for president were held today, 50 percent of likely Republican voters would vote for Trump, followed by 27 percent for Kasich and 17 percent for Cruz.