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In Tampa, Donald Trump complains about his treatment from fellow Republicans

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Coming off one of his most tumultuous weeks on the campaign trail since becoming the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump took his act to the Tampa Convention Center at high noon on Saturday, where he spoke to a less than capacity crowd at the Tampa Convention Center for approximately 50 minutes.

Trump has been under fire from many in his own party for his comments about federal judge Gonzalo Curiel, the magistrate involved in the case involving disgruntled customers of what is known as Trump University. Trump said he couldn’t get a fair hearing from the judge because of his Mexican heritage, a comment that House Speaker Paul Ryan said was the definition of racism (though he’s still supporting him for president).

“I’ve had more opposition from the Republican Party than I have from the Democrats,” Trump complained on Saturday. “It’s crazy. I’m an outsider. They’re not used to it.”

On Friday night, Mitt Romney said that Trump’s election could legitimize racism and misogyny, ushering in a change in the moral fabric of American society.

The Donald returned the fire in Tampa, mocking Romney for calling him a misogynist. “I don’t think he knows what misogynist is.”

On racism? Not close, said Trump, saying that he has been given the Good Housekeeping seal of approval by none other than boxing impresario Don King. “I am the least racist person that you’ve ever met. Believe me.”

The several thousand in attendance were backing their man up regarding the controversy over the judge.

“I think he’s doing the best he can, but things have a way of getting twisted,” said Kathleen Bass from Tampa. “You say something, not with the intention, but they (the media) put a spin put on it and people interpret it in a way that it wasn’t intended.”

The Curiel imbroglio is “just a distraction,” insisted Plant City resident Mike Borders.”If people really researched the things that they’re hearing on the news, they’d realize, this is all bullsh*t. It is.  When people take the the time to figure out the facts and not what the news is telling them, they’ll learn the truth.”

And what is that, we asked?

Borders went on to repeat comments that conservative media have reported in claiming that Trump is getting a raw deal in the Trump University case – such as the fact that law firm that brought the lawsuit against Trump is a Clinton donor.

Lake Wales resident Clyde Smith also said he felt that Trump wasn’t prejudiced, but had had his words “twisted.”

“He shouldn’t have said a couple of things, but then he straightened up. He ain’t reading from other people’s literature, and so everybody makes mistakes, but that wasn’t anything.”

Much of Trump’s speech trod over familiar territory  – he talked about the bad trade deals that the U.S. has made, how he’s really not mad at China or Mexico but actually U.S. leaders who have negotiated poor deals with them, and how often he’s made the cover of Time magazine over the past year.

He spent a few minutes bashing Hillary Clinton, saying she has made the nation vulnerable by using a private server. “It’s illegal, it’s wrong….why would they let it go so long?” he asked of the FBI investigation.

And on policy, he again falsely claimed that Clinton would rid the country of the 2nd Amendment if she were to be elected.

You’ll always see something different at a Trump rally. At one point he began crowdsourcing the audience on who he should pick as his running mate, with the presumptive nominee repeating the names of Newt Gingrich, Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (who got a huge cheer).

As advertised, Florida Governor Rick Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi were among the speakers who appeared leading up to Trump’s appearance, which came a full hour after the scheduled 11 a.m starting time.

“Come November, Donald Trump won’t just win Florida, he will have a big win across the entire United States,” predicted Scott, who compared his surprising 2010 initial victory in Tallahassee to Trump’s emergency in the Republican primaries this past year.

There was some speculation that Bondi would be a no-show, after she was put on defense this week with more reporting on the fact that she personally solicited a financial contribution from Trump in 2013 at the same time that her office was contemplating joining a multi-state lawsuit against Trump University.

But she didn’t disappoint her supporters. “I don’t mess around, and no longer does Donald Trump,” she said approximately 15 minutes before Trump appeared on stage.

Bondi railed against “the liberal elite,” who she said accepted “mediocracy {sic) and excuses defeat.” And she offered a personal anecdote to impress upon the crowd what type of great man Mr. Trump actually is.

She said she called “Donald” and left him a message the night that Ted Cruz suspended his presidential campaign.

“He called me right back, and I could hear I think Melania and his whole family say ‘you gotta get up on stage,” and the world was waiting for him on live TV. You know what he asked me about? He said, ‘Hi, Pam. How’s your mom?’ That’s the Donald Trump I know.”

 

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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