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Over the course of a winding but largely well-known speech, Trump targeted political enemies, posted a long list of complaints, made poetic comments about his time in the Oval Office, and entertained a range of far-right figures who helped spread conspiracy theories about the 2020 election.
Tony Hocevar, a longtime supporter from the Cleveland area, said he wanted to hear Trump talk about “the same stuff – just more of it”.
Targeting the immigration policy of the Biden administration and Vice President Kamala Harris’s trip to the southern border for over an hour, Trump slapped General Mark Milley and “woke generals” for their comments on critical race, without naming his name, on theory . He enlivened the chants of “Lock her up!” about Hillary Clinton and read the poem “The Snake,” a fan favorite from the 2016 campaign.
“The subject is a bit depressing because what happened in November should never have happened,” said Trump. “They used Covid to steal the election.”
The crowd sympathized with Trump and was eager to hear him announce another presidential run. Anyone with over half a dozen rally attendees surveyed said they wanted Trump to signal that he wants to run for a third time in 2024.
“I hope he either wants to run or run for Speaker of the House,” said Richard Stachurski, referring to a rumor circulating among Trump supporters that Trump could possibly win a race in the House of Representatives and then take office as speaker.
Thousands of supporters, some in T-shirts that read “Trump 2024” and “Trump is my President,” crowded hours before Trump took the stage. But as his speech lasted over an hour, supporters trickled out – some were frustrated after a jumbotron failed to show a live video of the speech.
Before Trump took the stage, MP Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) Was greeted with standing ovations and cheered as she witnessed the dismissal of infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci urged.
“Lock him up! Lock him up!” the crowd screamed.
“Let me ask you a question – who is the president?” Greens said. “Trump! Trump! Trump!” the crowd called back.
Rally attendees demanded selfies with MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, who spread false theories about election fraud and is being sued for defamation by Dominion Voting Systems for alleging that the company manipulated the election.
And in an unusual prelude to a political rally, a Cincinnati area math teacher Douglas Frank gave a PowerPoint presentation with charts and numbers to convince the crowd he had data to back up false claims about widespread, coordinated electoral fraud to underpin. The crowd sat quietly while he clicked through his slideshow.
Prior to the rally, Trump attended a VIP reception and fundraiser in support of Miller, which was attended by high profile donors and Republican Senate primary candidates eager to get a support.
Jane Timken, former Ohio GOP chairman, flew a plane with a banner that read “Ohio is Trump Country” and handed out flyers saying she was the “only true pro-Trump America First candidate.” a list of all the possibilities a she supported Trump.
Trump, who was advised not to give any support in the overcrowded Senate GOP area code, recognized each candidate by name, but avoided giving his approval stamp.
Instead, he questioned the audience. “Who Likes Jane Timken? Who Likes Josh Mandel? Who Likes Gibbons?” (Trump forgot to name Bernie Moreno in the audience poll.)
A fifth candidate could be running next week: JD Vance, the author of Hillbilly Elegy, who was at the rally and said he will announce his decision next week.