EVERETT — Donald Trump promised an influx of new jobs if elected president in a fiery speech to thousands in Everett on Tuesday.
The Republican presidential candidate descended on Xfinity Arena in the city’s downtown, touching on his opposition to trade deals, his efforts to stop immigration from Syria, reduce inner city crime and more.
He also predicted a general election victory in Washington, which hasn’t voted Republican for president since Ronald Reagan in 1984.
“You know a Republican would never come to the state of Washington,” Trump told the crowd. “We’re gonna win it, that’s why I’m here.”
The visit marked Trump’s return to Washington. The businessman previously held rallies in Spokane and Lynden in a swing through the state in early May.
On Tuesday, Trump pledged a revitalization of manufacturing with the help of renegotiated trade deals in the speech that lasted about 45 minutes..
“In this new future,” Trump said, “millions of workers on the sidelines will be returned to the workforce.”
He also brought Republican firepower along to Everett to open the night.
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions and Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus all spoke at the rally. State GOP chairman Susan Hutchison said the special guests attended a fundraiser earlier in the night.
Priebus riled up supporters by painting Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton as a habitual liar who “lies with incredible skill and grace.”
In the main event, the boisterous crowd responded to Trump’s promise to bar Syrian refugees from entering the U.S. if he becomes president, and heartily cheered for attacks on Clinton.
They also enthusiastically cheered when a handful of protesters were thrown out during the event.
Plea to minorities
A large block of Trump’s speech was spent making a plea for the votes of black and Hispanic voters who he said are suffering through poverty and violence in cities as a result of decades of “Democratic regime” in urban areas.
Rattling off statistics about black people experiencing poverty, Trump promised to “rebuild our inner cities and provide safety and peace to all of our citizens.”
“Tonight I’m asking for the vote of every African American and Hispanic citizen in this country who wants to see a better future who wants to see real positive change,” he said.
This pitch has been a recent addition at other Trump rallies across the country.
Trump didn’t discuss Boeing, which he said in a Monday interview with KIRO Radio would outsource Washington business to China without his intervention.
Boeing is a large employer in Everett.
Before the speech, supporters showed up early to get in line for the free event. The crowd stretched for blocks before noon, full of people decked out in signature Trump hats, flags and t-shirts.
Alma Tramill, 60, of Vaughn, was among those from the South Sound who trekked to see Trump speak. Tramill said she has waved a Trump sign with other supporters over Interstate 5 every Friday afternoon since April on a bridge close to exit 125 in Tacoma.
She said she distrusts Hillary Clinton and that Trump isn’t corrupt.
“We have faith and we have hope that Trump will do what he says, which we know he will,” she said in an interview Tuesday. “He’s not bought off.”
Tramill and others carpooled to the event with people from the Gig Harbor area.
Larry Geringer, 74, said he’s been disappointed by the approach of Democrats to solving veteran homelessness and said he thinks Trump would serve them better than Clinton.
The Gig Harbor resident works with homeless veterans in Tacoma through an organization called Rescue Mission.
“The Democrats have basically turned their back on them and said ‘well the status quo is OK.’”
Other supporters outside the rally spoke about Trump’s commitment to gun rights, his status as a political outsider and more as reasons they showed up to cheer on the New York businessman.
The event also drew protest.
More than 100 people gathered in Everett’s Clark Park before the Trump rally to object to the Republican’s visit.
Democratic U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen of Everett spoke to the anti-Trump crowd, along with a handful of state lawmakers and others. Many in the park were holding signs that read “No Hate in the White House,” and painted Trump as racist toward minorities in interviews with The News Tribune.
“This is a community and a state that represents everything that Donald Trump does not,” Larsen said. “We are a community that is standing up against hate.”
Leslie Zukor, 31, showed up to protest, saying the time Trump in November mimicked a New York Times reporter with a disability was just one of his remarks that turned her away from the Republican.
Zukor, who is voting for Clinton despite earlier support for Sanders, said she was born without depth perception and can relate to the New York Times reporter.
“To have a president who mocks people with disabilities, it’s just not the American way,” she said.
The protesters eventually marched from the park to the arena, where there were shouting matches at times with Trump supporters.
There has also been backlash against Trump from his own party in Washington leading up to the Everett rally.
Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Bryant and U.S. Senate candidate Chris Vance have said they won’t vote for Trump. Bryant is facing Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee and Vance is up against U.S. Sen. Patty Murray in November.
Voters statewide aren’t appearing to favor Trump, either.
A survey by independent pollster Stuart Elway from mid-August found far more support for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
The poll says 43 percent of 500 registered voters would vote for Clinton compared to 24 percent for Trump. The poll also included Libertarian Gary Johnson, who received 7 percent and Green Party candidate Jill Stein, with 4 percent.
Clinton visited Seattle in late March including an open event at Rainier Beach High School.
But Trump has found backers in the state. Some state lawmakers have rallied to his side including Republican state Sen. Doug Ericksen, the state campaign’s deputy director, Republican Sen. Don Benton, the state’s campaign director and state Sen. Brian Dansel, a Republican from Republic. All spoke at the rally.
Trump also won the state’s presidential primary by taking more than 75 percent of the vote — although it took place after he had virtually clinched the Republican nomination.
Hutchison told the media on Tuesday that Trump’s fundraiser before the rally drew about 150 people and raised about $1 million.
Rallygoers and Trump were optimistic about his chances of winning Washington.
“Our country is going to hell,” Trump said. “And we’re not going to let it happen.”