COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Polls show that Donald Trump leads in Ohio and nationally. At a campaign stop in Columbus on Monday, he made sure you knew it.
“Every three days, another poll comes out,” Trump said. “Millions, they spend millions. I read all about myself. He got this, he got this, they love this but they don’t love this. But they do say they love him on the economy by far. They love him on leadership by far. They love him on terrorism, all those things. They love them. They don’t like my personality, but that’s only because they don’t know me.”
Thousands of people poured in the Columbus Convention Center Monday to support Trump in a rally that touched on many issues, including immigration, the military, the media and Syrian refugees.
Trump directed his criticism toward the media, challenging TV cameras to focus on the crowd instead of him. When they did not, Trump referenced yesterday’s assault of a rally protestor, saying that reporters did record that and that the attendees who attacked the person were not his people.
“Among the most dishonest people I’ve ever dealt with are the media,” Trump said. “Unbelievable. The level of dishonesty – not everybody, I’ve met some incredible people: those people right there with all the cameras going. I’ve dealt with some really treacherous, horrible human beings that will quote you totally wrong things that you’ve never even said.”
Trump also responded to criticism he’s received about how he’s said he would handle the Muslim population in the U.S. When he mentioned the notion of putting mosques or Muslims on watch lists, two attendees were removed for disrupting the rally and yelling at Trump.
“Syrian refugees are coming in, we have to create lists,” Trump said, at which point two people began yelling at Trump. They were booed and escorted out. “It’s sad. It’s rude, too. We have 12,000 people here. You can get them the hell out, go ahead. Unbelievable.”
He also reinforced his no-nonsense stance on fighting terrorism, using whatever methods necessary. When he brought up questions about waterboarding, his answer was clear: “On the other side, they chop off our young people’s heads and they put them on a stick,” Trump said. “Would I approve waterboarding? You’d bet your ass I’d approve it. You bet your ass.”
Ohio Gov. John Kasich has been trading blows with Trump on Twitter, especially after the fourth Republican presidential debate, where Kasich led in airtime and made an effort to fight against his Republican opponents.
Despite this, Trump mentioned Kasich only once, emphasizing his sizable lead in the polls.
“Trump is 28 and second is at 18. Wow, your governor is only 2, what happened?“ Trump said. “Somehow, when you’re the governor of a state, you gotta run that state.”
But Ohio’s Republican leaders were less than pleased with Trump’s take on the Republican Party, at least in Ohio.
Ahead of this evening’s event, several Ohio senators held a conference call to voice their opinions. Ohio Senate President Keith Faber said that Gov. John Kasich is a more measured and prepared candidate than Trump.
“Nobody agrees with 100 percent of one candidate,” Faber said. “But when you talk about candidates, one of the things you have to have, whoever your president is going to be, is someone who is willing to lead. John Kasich has shown that. The others have talked about it, but they haven’t had the history showing it.”
Thousands of supporters lined up and filed in to see Trump, saying they were excited to see the businessman, especially compared to other candidates.
Joseph Warden came with his parents from Cincinnati. He said he knew he was a Trump supporter from his announcement.
“[It was] When he said the country needs to become rich again,” Warden said. “We have a middle class that is decimated. We have folks that can’t afford their health care. We have veterans that aren’t being taken care of. We have some serious problems, and we need someone who’s a manager and a great accomplishment to come in and solve the great problems of the country.”