KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump spoke Monday night before a packed house at the Knoxville Convention Center.
Around 5,000 people were expected to attend the rally, which had to be delayed a few minutes because people were still filing in, despite the doors opening around an hour earlier than originally announced.
Trump’s early comments were against President Obama’s release of five prisoners from Guantanamo Bay last week and that Friday’s attacks in Paris could have been prevented if citizens had guns.
“If you had 25 people in there that had guns, it would have been a totally different story. It would have been the Shootout at the OK Corral, and there would have been death, but it could have been their death,” Trump said.
“We need our Second Amendment protection and we’re going to have it.”
Trump also spoke at length about illegal immigration, one of the key issues of his campaign, reiterating his plan to build a wall around the borders.
“We are going to build a wall. It’s going to happen. It’s going to be built. And it’s going to be a real wall,” he said. “We’re going to have a door in the wall, but they’re going to come into the country legally.”
He vowed to deport people who are in the United States illegally, but would allow some to return by legal means.
“The first thing is I’m going to take Obama’s executive order where he said everybody come on in, we’re going to end that,” said Trump. “It’s going to be terminated in the first 10 minutes (of my presidency.)”
Trump also vowed to repeal the Affordable Care Act soon after election.
On the subject of jobs, Trump promised to bring back jobs from other countries.
“People understand I’m going to bring jobs back from China. I’m going to bring back jobs from all these places that have been ripping us off like we’re the dumbest people on Earth,” he said.
Trump said he was disappointed that veterans have to wait on long waiting lists to get health care and said he would allow veterans to get health care at private and public hospitals, at the country’s expense.
He also promised to take care of terrorists – “I’m going to bomb the [expletive] out of them. I don’t care.”
“The American dream is dead. But we’re going to make it bigger and stronger than ever before,” Trump said, wrapping up his speech.
Protesters rallied outside the convention center, many holding signs saying “No one is illegal.”
“We believe no one is illegal and that migrants should be able to live here in their homes. We’re here to fight back against the racism of folks’ suggesting that people should be deported,” said protestor Margaret Fetzer.
State Republican Party Leader Ryan Haynes said Trump is visiting Knoxville because Tennessee plays a critical role in the primary this year. Donald Trump has already visited Nashville twice during his run for president.
“Voters out there are so disgusted with the way the Democrats in Washington handled themselves that they are gravitating toward different types of candidates and that’s what seems to be happening right now,” said Haynes.
Haynes said the Tennessee Republican Party has to stay neutral on all of the candidates and that they look forward to seeing who the nominee is in the future.
Beada Corum never thought she would get to meet Donald Trump for a second time. However, her daughter received a call from his campaign office Tuesday afternoon asking if Corum would like to come to Trump’s event at the Knoxville Convention Center and share a few words to the audience.
“It was a surprise to me, but I’m proud of it. I’m honored to be there with him to talk to him again,” said Corum.
The 92-year-old registered to vote for the first time in June after finding out Trump was running for president.
“The first time I heard him I thought well I never have voted for a man for president before in my life, but the way he talks and he meant what he said,” said Corum.
Corum spoke for about 10 minutes ahead of Trump’s speech.
“That’s what Donald Trump wants to do, bring America back the way it was,” she said,