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Trump connects with large local crowd

David Weissman
505-5431/@DispatchDavid

Newberry Township resident Greg Troup arrived at Cumberland Valley High School in Mechanicsburg nearly six hours ahead of Donald Trump's scheduled appearance "just to see the next POTUS."

Trump ended up making Troup and the thousands of other local supporters wait more than an extra hour, but the crowd, which had warmed up with chants of "Build that wall!," "U-S-A!" and "Lock her up!," saved enough energy to give its loudest applause of the night for the arrival of the Republican presidential nominee.

Trump began by bragging about the crowd, which was noticeably larger than the audience Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton drew in Harrisburg last Friday.

"(Republicans) haven't won Pennsylvania in 28 years," he said to the audience, "but my guys are so sure it's going to happen."

The rest of Trump's speech featured harsh criticism of "the biased media," a promise to repeal and replace Obamacare and remarks blaming Clinton for the "horrible" North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

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Local supporters waiting in line said they were looking forward to Trump speaking without being politically correct.

"We don't need any more political correctness in this country," said Joseph Wise, of Springettsbury Township.

Wise, who was standing in line with his 11-year-old son to see Trump for the third time this year, said he believes Trump's words are often taken out of context by the media, and he doesn't believe the candidate intends to be mean or racist.

Kenny Meyers, a Dallastown Area High School student, said: "Everything he says makes me want to vote for him more. Nobody likes the truth."

Meyers, 17, won't be allowed to vote in the coming election, but his classmate, Hayden Jones, who will turn 18 before November, said he will vote for Trump because of his stance on the immigration policy.

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Red Lion maintenance worker Matt Miller also credited Trump's immigration policies as a major reason he's supported the notable businessman since he announced his candidacy.

"There's laws in place, and nobody's enforcing them," Miller said. "(Trump) will make sure they're enforced."

Trump concluded his speech, which lasted more than an hour, by discussing his plan to build a wall at the Mexico-America border.

"And who's gonna pay for that wall?" Trump asked the audience members, to which they loudly responded, "Mexico!"

While the disdain for Clinton was on full display throughout the evening — U.S. Rep. Tom Marino's short speech before Trump elicited three "Lock her up!" chants from the crowd — Trump did admit that he got along with her before he decided to run for office.

"I owed it to my business and employees," he told the audience.

Miller said he'd still love America and stay in the country even if Clinton wins the election.

"It is what it is," he said. "I dealt with Obama for eight years."

Trump wasn't as prepared to accept the possibility.

"If we don't win on November 8, I will consider this a tremendous waste of time, energy and money," he said. "I would've rather lost a year ago."

— Reach David Weissman at dweissman@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @DispatchDavid.