WALKER, Mich. (WOOD) — More than an hour after he was scheduled to speak Monday, Donald Trump took the stage at the DeltaPlex in front of thousands of people.
“Boy, this is a great group,” the Republican presidential nominee told the crowd in Walker. “You know, we set this up about 24 hours ago because I hear we’re doing great in Michigan. We’re going to win Michigan.”
He was introduced by legendary basketball coach Bobby Knight.
“In a Donald Trump administration, there will be no bulls**t,” Knight interjected in the middle of Trump’s speech.
During the 53-minute address, Trump touched on a variety of issues, including middle class tax cuts, building a Mexico border wall, reducing violent crime and bringing back manufacturing jobs. Trump said he would charge 35 percent more on products made by companies that move out of the country and repeal and replace Obamacare to bring back jobs.
Trump even borrowed a page from late President Gerald R. Ford’s book.
“The long nightmare of jobs leaving Michigan will be coming to a very rapid end,” Trump told the crowd.
>>VIDEO: Donald Trump speaks in Walker
The billionaire businessman also repeatedly attacked Hillary Clinton and credited FBI Director James Comey for investigating a new set of emails that may be relevant to the Clinton email server investigation. Trump even thanked Anthony Wiener, who is embroiled in a sexting investigation that led to the discovery of the emails from Wiener’s estranged wife, longtime Clinton aide Huma Abedin.
“This is the biggest scandal since Watergate. Hillary wants to blame everyone for her problems,” Trump said as supporters chanted “Lock her up! Lock her up!”
“Hillary is not the victim. The American people are the victims of a corrupt system,” he added.
“The future lies with the dreamers, not the saints, not the critics,” Trump said at the end of his address. “Hillary’s been there for 30 years and she’s accomplished nothing. She’s just made things worse.”
Trump also reiterated his promise to “drain the swamp” in Washington, D.C.
“America is tired of incompetence, America is tired of waiting. The moment is now,” said Trump. “All we have to do is stop believing in our failed politicians and start believing in each other… and start believing in the greatness of our country.”
“We will make American strong again. We will make America safe again and we will make American great again,” he said.
WAITING FOR TRUMP
Trump was scheduled to speak at noon; however, his plane didn’t land at the Gerald R. Ford International Airport until after 12:30 p.m.
People waited for hours to get a good seat on the floor of the DeltaPlex. One of the first people in line told 24 Hour News 8 that she had been there since 10:13 p.m. Sunday. She said she had lost her faith in the government, but Trump renewed that faith and she hopes that he can do the same for undecided voters.
“They’re going to find out that she’s [Hillary Clinton] all words, no action. And if they want action and they want change then they need to vote Trump to get that change.”
As of 11 a.m., the Kent County Sheriff Department estimated 4,000 people were inside venue, with a steady stream of people showing up. Among the thousands of Donald Trump supporters in attendance was military veteran Jena Wilmers.
“I was on the fence when he first came to Grand Rapids the first time,” said Wilmers.
But her attitude towards the Republican nominee changed over time. Clinton’s email controversy had a lot to do with it.
“It’s one of the biggest things, and then just what he wants to do for America, coming from a business point, versus a political standpoint. So he’s not influenced by other people,” said Wilmers.
She wasn’t alone in her standpoint.
“I definitely wasn’t with him from the beginning,” added Martin Axelrod. “I think he’s a well-intentioned guy. I just think he’s got impulse control issues, things like that. But, the alternative we have now – yeah, I will vote for him. ”
COUNTDOWN TO NOV. 8
Trump’s stop in West Michigan came just eight days before the election. The last time Trump was in Michigan was on Sept. 30 when he spoke to campaign volunteers at the Kent GOP headquarters and toured the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum.
An EPIC-MRA poll released Thursday showed 41 percent of voters would choose Hillary Clinton if the election was held immediately. Thirty-four percent said they would vote for Trump. That put Clinton’s lead well outside the poll’s plus or minus 4 percent margin of error. However, the poll was taken before the FBI announced it would be searching a new batch of emails that may be relevant to their investigation into Clinton.
And while there’s been a lot of talk about the undecideds this election, the voters 24 Hour News 8 spoke with during Monday’s rally were not among them.
“I think he was more organized this time. He had a lot of his points put together. And I just really think he is really working for what the common people of America want. We’re tired of just a lot of the lies and problems that we have in everyday life,” said Sue Kirsch.
“He is a business man, he’s not a politician,” said Larry Muck.”And I think through his past experience that he’d be able to help our nation get back on track.”
A Republican presidential candidate hasn’t won Michigan since 1998, but Trump said he would change that:
“In eight days, we are going to win the great state of Michigan and we are going to win back the White House,” he told his supporters at the DeltaPlex.