PENSACOLA, Fla. -- There may have been teleprompters, but the Donald Trump that took the stage here on Friday night was a familiar one -- unvarnished and unfiltered in front of a screaming horde of thousands. He spoke for almost an hour in a speech filled with his colorful malapropisms. He used the prompter as more of a suggestion than a strict road map for his verbiage.
After promising to bolster the United States’ missile defense system, Trump had a message for Iran, bringing to bear the machismo that his supporters have come to know and love.
“When they circle our beautiful destroyers with their little boats and they make gestures at our people that they shouldn’t be allowed to make, “Trump said, “they will be shot out of the water. OK? Believe me.”
The crowd did believe him and cheered accordingly.
He referred to his opponent for the White House, Hillary Clinton, as “trigger-happy” multiple times and also said, “Personally, I think she’s an unstable person. OK?”
There was more. A lot more.
“She could walk into this arena right now and shoot somebody with 20,000 people watching right smack in the middle of the heart and she wouldn’t be prosecuted, OK? That’s what’s happened,” Trump said.
Trump has made a similar outsized claim in a previous rally -- except it was used to describe himself. In Iowa last winter, Trump said that he could go out on Fifth Avenue in New York City, shoot somebody and not lose any support.
The GOP nominee has run a relentless schedule of late but didn’t show any sign of wear at Friday night’s rally. He started the day in. There, he told the Christian Broadcasting Network’s David Brody that this election would be the last election if he didn’t become president.
“I think this will be the last election if I don’t win,” Trump said. “I think this will be the last election that the Republicans have a chance of winning because you’re gonna have people flowing across the borders. You’re gonna have illegal immigrants coming in, and they’re gonna be legalized, and they’re gonna be able to vote. And once that all happens, you can forget it.”
In that same interview, Trump said he was the last hope for a Republican to win the White House ever again.
The exaggerations and Trump-speak carried on to Pensacola, Florida.
“And by the way, we’re going to make education so good. You have to just take a look. And Common Core -- boom! -- out,” Trump said.
There was the Trump classic (“You’re gonna get so tired of winning.”) and then there was a reference to “nuclear warming.”
“Then [Clinton] gave up 20 percent of U.S. uranium to Russia,” Trump said. “You know what that means, right? In other word, nuclear, right? While those who benefited from the deal gave massive amounts of money to the Clintons. They get a 20 percent of the uranium! Uranium is big, big stuff because it means the ultimate. The ultimate is called nuclear. Not global warming. It’s called nuclear warming. OK?”
When Trump talked about his resistance to allowing Syrian refugees into the country, Trump said: “They won’t talk about the Trojan horse in 500 years ago. They’ll be talking about what happened in the United States.”
He brought up Russian President Vladimir Putin, saying, “Honestly, I don’t know the gentleman, but you know what? He’s been nice to me. If he’s nice to me, that’s fine. Not gonna make a bit of difference. If we don’t get great deals for our country, nothing matters to me. It’s all about getting great deals.”
Trump and his running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, have, a foreign leader who has seemingly delighted in antagonizing the United States. Trump also said that Russia and China would “pillage” the United States if Clinton was elected.
The bravado was on full display as another campaign week came to an end. Trump said that he would go to countries “that we defend, some NATO countries” and “other major, major countries” to “ask them to up the ante.”
“And we’re gonna ask them in a very polite way, and I’m sure they’ll say absolutely because they can’t believe what they are getting away with. OK?” Trump said.
The billionaire received a boost this week as polls, both nationally and in swing states, started to tighten. He also earlier this week. But Trump seemed surprised by how high the number was.
“I am proud to have the support of the retired generals and admirals who know how to win,” Trump said. “And on Monday, we’re going to have 88 -- 88! -- generals and admirals. I didn’t even know there were that many. I figured [it] wouldn’t be that many. On Monday, we’re getting 22 more!”
He was in rare form. He seemed more akin to the fiery, unfiltered candidate that rose to the top of the Republican field in the primaries. Weeks of discipline -- discipline for Trump, anyways -- gave way to one night Trump being Trump.
The crowd stood and roared, and Trump hit the ropeline, telling at least one cameraman to make sure he shot his good side.