Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump stopped in Illinois’ capital city Monday for a raucous rally where he congratulated himself for strong ratings as host of “Saturday Night Live” and called for a boycott of Starbucks over holiday cups.
The hourlong event attracted thousands, from fans who wore the businessman and TV personality’s face on neckties to hecklers he chided from the stage to those who simply came to see the political theater.
Trump promised to be an “unpredictable” leader, taking jabs at Democratic candidates Hillary Rodham Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders as well as former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, saying he dropped a joke aimed at Bush from Saturday’s edition of the sketch comedy show because it was “too nasty.”
“See? How nice am I?” Trump said to laughs.
The developer drew loud cheers when he called for a boycott of Starbucks after the coffee company dropped the words “Merry Christmas” from its annual holiday cups, and said the prospect of taking in Syrian refugees could amount to a “Trojan Horse” for the Islamic State.
While the crowd was largely supportive, Trump shouted down hecklers yelling “Feel the Bern,” a reference to Sanders.
“Oh, get out of here,” Trump said from the stage before criticizing Sanders for dismissing the scandal over Clinton’s private emails during the first Democratic presidential debate.
“Bernie had his chance during the debate and said ‘Oh, forget about the emails,’ now he is trying to take it back,” Trump said. “If we had honest government, Hillary wouldn’t be allowed to run.”
“She’s got a burst of energy, but it won’t last long because the energy is not a natural energy,” Trump said of Clinton.
Trump also misread the downstate crowd in praising “a very nice place called Chicago,” drawing boos as he tried to criticize the loss of jobs from a Nabisco plant to Mexico.
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SOURCE: Chicago Tribune, Monique Garcia and Rick Pearson