The Journal Gazette
Wednesday, April 20, 2016 3:06 pm

Trump in Indianapolis: Making free trade fair

Niki Kelly | The Journal Gazette

INDIANAPOLIS -- GOP presidential hopeful Donald Trump stressed making free trade fair for the U.S. again on Wednesday during his first campaign visit to Indiana.

He told thousands gathered at the Indiana State Fairgrounds pavilion that he would charge Carrier and other companies a 35 percent tax to build their products across the border and then sell them in America.

"If I were in office right now, Carrier would not be leaving Indiana, that I can tell you," Trump said.

He talked about the decision by Carrier in Indianapolis and UTEC in Huntington to move 2,100 jobs to Mexico in various snippets throughout the 55-minute speech. Both companies are branches of United Technologies Corp.

Throughout the sometimes-disjointed speech, Trump pivoted to a myriad of topics -- his Republican opponents, his love of waterboarding, a rigged delegate system, immigration, the dishonest media and China.

He told the crowd when they cast a ballot for him in the primary May 3, "you're going to look back at that vote and you're going to say that was the single greatest and most important vote that you've ever cast.

"Because when you cast that vote, our country is going to start winning again."

The event started with instructions about how some protesters have tried to disrupt other rallies to promote their own political beliefs.

"If a protester starts demonstrating in the area around you, please do not touch or harm the protester," the man said.

Instead, supporters were encouraged to hold up Trump signs and chant, and police would come remove them.

At least a dozen protesters were taken away by police, but there were no violent skirmishes. At one time Trump even joked that he was disappointed in them -- "These protesters aren't very tough around here. That's good. I'm a little disappointed in them. I say get them out, and he walks out."

Fort Wayne GOP Rep. Bob Morris was among a group of officials to meet with Trump before the rally, and he helped emcee before the big event.

"He is a businessman, and I like his views on reducing debt and controlling the border," Morris said.

He said Trump will win Indiana, and the Republican Party needs to get behind him to defeat the Democratic nominee in the fall.

"In November, I will call him Mr. President," Morris said.

Trump talked of America's new enemy -- radical Islamic terrorism.

"We will get rid of ISIS so fast that your head will spin," he said. "In medieval times, they chopped off heads. Now we're living in medieval times. We're weak. We're ineffective."

He added that he loves waterboarding -- a form of torture once used by the federal government but since banned.

Trump met with Gov. Mike Pence at the Governor's Residence before the rally, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was also in tow. 

Pence is meeting with all three GOP contenders -- including Sen. Ted Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich -- as he mulls whether to make an endorsement in the race.

"Gov. Pence is really fighting hard for you," Trump said to a mixed reaction from the crowd.

Cruz will speak at the Indiana Republican Party spring dinner Thursday night, and Kasich announced a visit Tuesday, though details were not yet available.

Democrats held a media call tying Pence and Trump together.

"Let’s be clear – Donald Trump did not hijack the Republican Party. He is the natural result of years of extreme ideology and dangerous, divisive rhetoric coming from the Republican Party," Indiana Democratic Party Chairman John Zody said. "We’ve already suffered from the out-of-touch agenda of our own version of Trump in the state – Governor Mike Pence."

Michelle Walker, 26, wore her Komets T-shirt to the rally and got a prime seat on the top row of a set of bleachers.

The Fort Wayne native has since moved to Indianapolis, and after watching all of Trump's campaign speeches online decided she wanted to see the real thing in person. She has voted consistently, but had never been to a political rally before.

"He just sounds like a real person," Walker said. "He might be the 1 percent, but he also understands the American people."

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