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National News

Trump touts defeating immigration deal, says America has fallen into ‘cesspool of ruin’

Credit: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Abraham Kenmore, SC Daily Gazette
February 10, 2024

CONWAY S.C. — Former President Donald Trump told thousands who gathered to see him Saturday that America has declined under President Joe Biden, but with their help, he could turn things around.

“We are a nation that is no longer admired, respected or listened to on the world stage,” he said over swelling music near the end of his hour-and-a half speech at Coastal Carolina University.

“We are a nation who is collapsing into a cesspool of ruin,” he said before promising to, yes, make America great again.

The rally near Myrtle Beach was Trump’s first visit to the Palmetto State since he walked onto the field at halftime with Gov. Henry McMaster at the Clemson-South Carolina football game in November. McMaster was among supporters who spoke before Trump took the stage.

Much of Trump’s speech focused on the southern border, his ongoing legal troubles, and, of course, Biden.

 A full crowd gathers at Coastal Carolina University’s HTC Center to hear former President Donald Trump on Saturday, Feb. 10, 2024. (Abraham Kenmore/SC Daily Gazette)

Immigration claims and court cases

Even from outside the White House, Trump claimed credit for the recent defeat of a package deal for immigration policy changes and foreign aid that Biden had backed.

“We crushed Crooked Joe’s disastrous open border bill,” Trump said, alleging without evidence that the proposal negotiated for months by a trio of senators would let in “millions” of people.

Later in the program, Trump read from “The Snake,” a song written in 1963 about a snake betraying a woman who helps him. Trump interpreted it as an immigration allegory and promised to begin the largest deportation in American history, bigger than President Dwight Eisenhower’s initiative in 1954 that expelled hundreds of thousands of undocumented Mexicans.

Trump also criticized the decision announced Thursday by a U.S. Department of Justice special counsel that Biden will not face charges for mishandling classified documents from his tenure as vice president. A separate criminal case against Trump’s handling of records after leaving office is ongoing.

But Trump did seem to enjoy the report characterizing Biden as an “elderly man with a poor memory.”

“I’m not looking for anything to happen to this guy. He wouldn’t even know the difference,” Trump said. “They’ll be no revenge, no revenge. Everyone agree — no revenge?” he added, to scattered applause.

The felony charges related to classified documents at his estate in Florida is just one of several ongoing criminal cases against Trump, which he dismissed categorically as election interference — interference, he added, that has not worked.

“It’s hard to say it’s good to be indicted, but it sure has helped in the polls,” he said.

Trump also called for an end to the war in Ukraine, alleging that if he’d been re-elected in 2020, Russia would not have invaded Ukraine in February 2022 and Hamas would not have attacked Israel last October. He also continued his false claim that the 2020 election was rigged and ended his speech by calling on voters to turnout both in the primary and in November.

Criticism of Haley

Before November, though, Trump still has the Republican primary, where he effectively has just one rival left – former Gov. Nikki Haley.

Haley has trailed Trump consistently, although she’s pointed to her rising results from Iowa to New Hampshire as proof she is picking up steam. In Nevada, however, she lost to a “none of these candidates” option on the ballot. Trump participated in, and won, a separate caucus which would actually award delegates.

Although he downplayed the opposition from Haley, Trump did criticize her for wanting to raise the age for when workers in their 20s now can retire and start collecting Social Security benefits.

Trump named Haley his first United Nations ambassador, but Trump said he mainly appointed her to clear the way for McMaster, one of his earliest endorsers.

“I wanted to take your lieutenant governor, who’s right here, and make him governor,” Trump said.

His harshest criticism of Haley, though, was that she’s backed by Wall Street heavyweights.

“Haley is the candidate of globalists and warmongers,” he said.

At one point several people started shouting in protest, although the specifics were not audible to reporters in the press pen. They were quickly removed by security.

“I used to say, ‘Go get them,’” Trump said as the protestors were removed. “Then I got sued. So now I say, ‘Please treat them kindly.’”

Trump supporters

The rally brought out far more people than could fit in Coastal Carolina’s recreation center, which can accommodate 3,600, according to the university’s website.

Mike Adams, 58, of Bucks County, Pennsylvania, said he’s been to several Trump rallies and never managed to make it inside. He was visiting family and was once again standing in a massive line waiting to see Trump.

A retired FBI officer, Adams feels like the Department of Justice was overly politicized under Biden.

“I see him as the antidote to the problems that are going on in DC,” Adams said. “I don’t think he was prepared for what he was going to face when he got there in the first four years. I think now he’s learned some valuable lessons and be able to clean some of the rot out that’s down there.”

Shea Turner turned out for her 21st birthday with a sign saying, “It’s my 21st, let’s make Conway Great again.” Originally from Blythewood, she attends Coastal Carolina and works in the medical field.

“I’ve been a big Trump fan for a long time,” she said, noting she especially liked his promise to close the southern border. She does not agree with Haley’s call to raise the age for retirement, starting with her generation.

While Haley herself campaigned elsewhere in South Carolina on Saturday, her campaign and its new line of attack were present in Horry County. A mobile billboard drove around the Myrtle Beach area labeling Trump and Biden “grumpy old men,” playing a two-minute video of bloopers from their speeches.

“Are we running a country or a nursing home?” Haley spokeswoman Nachama Soloveichik said in a statement.

SC Daily Gazette is part of States Newsroom, a nonprofit news network supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. SC Daily Gazette maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Seanna Adcox for questions: info@scdailygazette.com. Follow SC Daily Gazette on Facebook and Twitter.

This article is republished from SC Daily Gazette under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.