Former President Donald Trump gave a 90-minute speech Saturday night during a daylong political rally at the Delaware County Fairgrounds.
It was Trump’s second rally in Delaware County, but the first time he spoke outdoors here on a sweltering sunny day that felt more like summer than April.
Throngs of people attended the free event, and they stood for hours in a line that wound its way from the far end of the fairgrounds to the grandstand. Some were fortunate enough to be seated in bleachers to see Trump live, and others could see him from two big screens. Most people stood, though, but could hear what was said at an ear-splitting volume from columns of loudspeakers.
They endured listening to a parade of candidates and speakers railing against Democrats and heard rock music in between. Trump was supposed to speak at 7 p.m., but he started at 6:45 p.m.
The point of the “Save America” rally was for Trump to endorse J.D. Vance, Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, and other Ohio politicians that reflected his “America First” policies. He did so, but after about an hour into his speech.
“You know what? (Vance is) a guy that said some bad (bleep) about me,” Trump said. “He did. He did. But you know what? Every one of the others did also. In fact, if I went by that standard, I don’t think I would’ve ever endorsed anyone in the country.”
After a handshake, Vance, 37, said Trump was “the best president of my lifetime.”
Prior to the endorsement, Trump trotted out many of his past grievances, including that the 2020 election was rigged and stolen from him, and blaming current President Joe Biden for inflation, crime and foreign policy decisions.
Trump, 75, also said he had “aced” an “aptitude test” (a cognitive test given in 2018).
“I don’t like being called stupid,” Trump, said of taking the test. He had asked then-White House physician Ronny Jackson, “Is there a test or something I can take to prove to these radical left maniacs that I’m much smarter than them? … And you know, now, they don’t call me stupid. They say he’s a dictator, he wants to take over the world.”
While Trump touched on the terrible situation in Ukraine, he did not criticize Russian President Vladimir Putin, who launched the invasion.
The “fake news” was another scapegoat frequently referenced by Trump. At one point, he said two news cameras had turned off their lights, which to him meant they didn’t want the public to hear the truth.
Despite the heat and the wait, the crowd, which had come from across the county and Ohio, as well as many states, responded positively to all of Trump’s remarks, chanting “JD” and ”USA!”
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0906 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.