President-elect Donald Trump returned to Mobile Saturday, victorious after a campaign that spring boarded to success following his first speech in the city in August 2015. “This is where it all began,” he told an enthusiastic crowd at a half-full Ladd-Peebles Stadium on an overcast day on the last appearance of his brief “thank you” tour.
“I said I’m coming back to see you in Alabama, and this is our last rally, our last stop, and I just want to thank the people of Alabama,” Trump said. “We’re thanking the people of Alabama and we’re thanking the people of the South because, boy did we do well in the South … You propelled a victory — a grassroots movement the likes of which the world, frankly, has never seen before.”
Trump won every southern state with the exception of Virginia in November’s general election, and 54 of Alabama’s 67 counties, with the exception of Jefferson County and the Black Belt.
But Trump’s ties to Alabama are deeper, as Sen. Jeff Sessions has been nominated as Trump’s attorney general. Sessions was the first member of the Senate to endorse Trump in the campaign — particularly touting his tough language on immigration — but he has been relatively quiet since his nomination.
Sessions spoke briefly about his and the state’s support of Trump, recalling the speech at Ladd 16 months earlier.
“It was an eyeopening event for the entire world and certainly the United States political establishment and I don’t think there is any doubt Mobile played an historic role in the momentum that built, there’s just no doubt about it. I think people began to see this was more than a normal campaign but a movement … ”
“Thank you all for the honor you’ve given me, the opportunity to perhaps have a different role in my life, if that was to occur I would give my honest and best effort every day to make you proud and the American people proud to serve everybody with equality and justice.”
Sessions then addressed Trump, “But I want to tell you, this country needs hope, they believe that you have the ability to lead us in a new way, I think they are encouraged by the new and fresh cabinet you’re assembling putting people in there that have courage and dedication.”
Trump continued with a nearly hour-long speech, largely revisiting the campaign and antagonizing the media, but also touching on job creation, crime, radical Islam and illegal immigration he hopes to address after his inauguration Jan. 20. The crowd got involved at times, chanting “build the wall” when Trump mentioned the border, “lock her up” when he mentioned his general election opponent Hillary Clinton.
But Trump did offer some goals, saying he intended to lower the business tax rate from 35 percent to 15 percent, eliminate “job-killing regulations, and lift the restrictions on the production of American energy, including shale, oil, natural gas and beautiful, clean coal — we’re going to put our miners back to work. We’re also going to rebuild America’s crumbling infrastructure.”
On jobs, Trump said his administration would “follow two rules: buy American and hire American.
“At the center of our agenda is fixing our absolutely terrible trade deals,” he continued. “We have bad deals with every country and that is going to change fast.”
Trump suggested with new legislation, companies that move manufacturing overseas would be penalized with heavy import tax.
On crime, Trump said “we are going to support the incredible men and women of law enforcement and we’re going to bring this terrible crime wave to an end … I have a message for the drug dealers, the gang members and the criminal cartels terrorizing all of our citizens in cities all around the United States and the message is, ‘you’re days are numbered, we’re getting you out.’”
Regarding ISIS and the threat of terrorism, Trump said, “I am going to keep radical Islamic terrorists the hell our of our country.” He also repeated a campaign promise to “drain the swamp” of political corruption and encouraged the crowd to support his agenda.
“This country has such potential,” he said. “You watch — things are going to happen like you haven’t seen happen in many many decades. This is truly an exciting time to be alive. The script is not yet written, we do no know what the page will read tomorrow, but for the first time in a long time, we do know the page will be authored by each and every one of you.
“Together, we will raise incomes and bring back our jobs, we will repeal the disaster known as Obamacare and create new health care reforms, we will re-establish the rule of law, defend the Second Amendment … protect religious liberty and appoint justices to the United States Supreme Court who will uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States. We will heal our devisions and unify our very, very divided country, When Americans are unified there is nothing we cannot do. No task is too great, no goals are beyond our reach.”
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