Donald Trump barnstormed through battleground states Monday in a final bid to energize supporters, telling them they had one last chance “to beat the corrupt system,” and at his penultimante campaign stop, he touted a new bit of celebrity support for his candidacy.
Trump channeled Hollywood as he kicked off the final rally of his unconventional presidential campaign.
“Today is our Independence Day,” Trump declared at a rally in Grand, Rapids Michigan in the early hours Tuesday. “Today the American working class is going to strike back.”
Trump had been expected to hold his last rally in New Hampshire - but added one last event to his calendar as his team made an 11th-hour push into traditionally Democratic states.
Trump said he doesn’t need superstars like Jay Z, Beyonce or Lady Gaga to draw crowds, like his rival, Hillary Clinton. He said, “All we need is great ideas to make America great again.”
Prior to the event in Grand Rapids, at his fourth rally of the day, Trump told a crowd in Manchester, New Hampshire that he had heard from both Tom Brady and Patriots coach Bill Belichick Monday, and the two said they were supporting him. He said Brady called him to say he already voted for him, and Belichick wrote him a letter to offer his support.
“Donald, I support you, you’re my friend and I voted for you,” Trump said Brady told him in a phone conversation. However, in a radio interview Monday, Brady denied he had already voted.
And Belichik, Trump told the crowd, had written him a letter of endorsement, which he then proceeded to read.
“Congratulations on a tremendous campaign. You have dealt with an unbelievable slanted and negative media and have come out beautifully,” Trump said. “You’ve proved to be the ultimate competitor and fighter. Your leadership is amazing. I have always had tremendous respect for you, but the toughness and perseverance you have displayed over the past year is remarkable. Hopefully tomorrow’s elections results will give the opportunity to Make America Great Again.”
The letter was, Trump said, signed “Best wishes for great results tomorrow, Bill Belichick.” Clinton has seen her own celebrity supporters show up on the trail in person to lend her their support, including, Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi, Katy Perry, among others in the closing days of her campaign.
In Manchester, Trump also went after Sen. Elizabeth Warren,a dig at her claim of Native American ancestry, and he accused her of having accomplished nothing in the Senate. “So I’ll make you a deal, you can have Pocahontas, I’ll take Tom Brady and Bill Belichick,” Trump said.
Trump vowed in his final speeches as a candidate to “beat the corrupt system,” but at moments, he was also a little nostalgic, looking back fondly at a campaign that has improbably put the first-time politician on the brink of the presidency.
As he sped through five rallies Monday, he recalled the rivals he’d vanquished and as he surveyed the crowd in Scranton, Pennsylvania, he mused, “It’s been a long journey.”
Still, Trump was aggressive to the end, slamming Clinton as the “face of failure.” Having made the new FBI review a centerpiece of his closing case to voters, he argued that the Democrat was being protected by a “totally rigged system.”
“You have one magnificent chance to beat the corrupt system and deliver justice,” Trump said. “Do not let this opportunity slip away.”
The comments were a reminder that FBI Director James Comey’s news Sunday, that the recently discovered emails, was a doubled-edged sword for Clinton. While it vindicated her claims that the emails would not yield new evidence, it ensured that a controversy that has dogged her campaign from the start would follow her through Election Day.
Across the country, nearly 24 million early ballots were cast under the shadow of Comey’s initial announcement of a new email review. That number represents about half of the nearly 45 million people who had cast votes by Monday, according to Associated Press data.
The inquiry involved material found on a computer belonging to Anthony Weiner, the disgraced former congressman and estranged husband of Huma Abedin, a longtime Clinton aide. Comey said Sunday the FBI reviewed communications “to or from Hillary Clinton while she was secretary of state.”
Clinton will need high turnout - particularly among Obama’s young, diverse coalition of voters - to carry her over the finish line Tuesday. Roughly half the states with advance voting have reported record turnout, including Florida and Nevada, which have booming Hispanic populations, which may be a good sign for Clinton.
In Florida alone, Hispanic participation is up by more than 453,000 votes, nearly doubling the 2012 level. Black turnout is up compared to 2012, but that share of the total vote is lower due to bigger jumps among Latinos and whites, according to University of Florida professor Daniel Smith
In Nevada, where more than three-fourths of expected ballots have been cast, Democrats also lead, 42 percent to 36 percent.
Trump deputy campaign manager David Bossie downplayed the impact of increased Hispanic participation, telling reporters on a conference call, “We feel that we’re going to get a good share of those votes.” However, he sidestepped two questions about the level of Hispanic vote Trump needs to win the presidency.
Without victories in Florida and Nevada, Trump’s path to 270 electoral votes would be exceedingly narrow. He already must win nearly all of the roughly dozen battleground states.
Trump had planned to keep up his breakneck travel schedule deep into Election Day, but aides revised plans, keeping the businessman in New York.
Midway through his final day of travel Monday, Trump praised his supporters for having created a “movement.” But he warned it would all slip away if he loses Tuesday.
“Go vote,” he urged. “Or honestly, we’ve all wasted our time.”
CBS News’ Sopan Deb and Catherine Cannon contributed to this report