Doubt Hillary could draw a crowd like that.
Donald Trump delivered a stump speech for the ages on Wednesday night, a New York homecoming that saw an estimated 10,000 people shoehorn themselves into a Cold War spacecraft testing hangar to hear their home town idol blast off.
Trump, true to form, declared the crowd was 17,000 strong.
His gold had lost some of its luster in recent weeks as he suffered a series of self-induced public relations meltdowns over comments he made on abortion and nuclear weapons, along with premature denials of facts related to pending battery accusations against his campaign manager.
Making matters worse, he took a beating Tuesday in Wisconsin at the hands of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz in Wisconsin’s primary.
But Trump thundered back a day later on Long Island as he returned to his early campaign form and thrilled his single largest standing-only crowd since launching his White House bid last June.
‘It’s great to be home! We love New York!’ he cried at the top of a brief 36-minute speech in the town of Bethpage.
‘I love these people! These are my people!’
Buoyed by the news of a new poll that showed him with a massive lead in his home state – 52 per cent of Republican primary voters told pollsters Trump was their pick – he gushed at the crowd that put him there.
‘You know what makes me the happiest? When the people who know me the best – and boy, do you know me well! – when the people who know me the best think so much [of me] that they have poll numbers nobody can believe it,’ he said.
The rowdy, earthy New Yorkers braved icy winds, distant parking, packed shuttle buses and a 1-mile walk at the end of the ride – and then stifling heat inside the building – all to see Trump for themselves.
Some climbed atop buddies’ shoulders for a better view.
The body heat and lack of water took its toll as at least four exhausted people were taken out on stretchers after standing for hours in anticipation of the 7:00 p.m. event.
This was a Trump rally of old, a gigantic venue bursting at the seams with aggressive and at times angry middle-class Americans who made no pretense about politeness.
It also had the flavor of a rock star’s homecoming, with Trump riffing off his greatest policy hits as a sea of devoted fans sang along by heart.
Mexico’s reluctant funding of his promised border wall, an Obamacare repeal, new trade negotiations, the scrapping of Common Core education standards and the return of jobs from overseas all made the playlist.
‘Our companies are being uprooted, taken out, they’re moving to Mexico, they’re moving to other countries,’ Trump complained in a key that his working-class masses have been relating to for months.
‘Everybody’s looking for jobs … we’re bringing companies back to the United States.’
‘We’re going to be smart, we’re going to be tough, we’re going to be vigilant,’ he said to wild cheers. ‘We’re not going to be politically correct all the time.’
And suddenly his signature tunes came in one album-length medley.