"Trump's supporters are more excited than ever." ap
7/21/15, Donald Trump enters for South Carolina speech, via Conservative Treehouse, You Tube image
7/21/15, "Trump's 'crass' attitude resonates with disgruntled Sun City voters," thestate.com, Zach Murdoch
"Donald Trump's fiery and contentious personality is exactly why some Sun City Hilton Head voters showed up hours early to hear the real estate mogul speak in Sun City on Tuesday.
"He's saying what others are afraid to say, and I like that," said Jan Burke, who has lived in Sun City for 10 years. "He's not afraid to say what others are thinking."
Burke and her husband, John, arrived just before 8 a.m. for Trump's noon speech at Sun City's Magnolia Hall. They were the 12th people in line for event and are sitting in the first row available to residents.
The Burkes appreciate Trump's no-holds-barred commentary on national issues, even the outbursts that have earned him the scorn of other Republicans and immigration activists.
Illegal immigration is among Jan Burke's biggest concerns, and she agrees with Trump's focus on border security.
"It seems like other people are taking over our country," she said, echoing Trump's comments. "There aren't even Americans anymore and that bothers me."
Others in the packed auditorium in Magnolia Hall praised Trump's business credentials and that he doesn't fit the typical politician's stereotype.
"He's brash, he's crass and he has no filter. I like that," said Sheila Weinberg. "He's not a politician, he's not stupid. He's a businessman and he'll hire the right people."
Weinberg and her husband, Michael, also snagged a front row seat for helping volunteer at other Republicans of Sun City events. They are not sold on Trump as their pick for the GOP nomination, but they also feel that his thoughts echo their "living room conversations."
Lines for Trump's speech began forming outside the auditorium at about 7:30 a.m., tweeted Jeff Taillon, Trump's South Carolina political director.
Organizers expected an overcapacity crowd of hundreds to flood Magnolia Hall, so the Republicans of Sun City Hilton Head have arranged a simulcast in Pinckney Hall.
Trump has stood out among a crowded field of Republican contenders with his contentious commentary on immigration and his outspoken personality.
Those comments have attracted the attention of the Lowcountry Immigration Coalition, which announced Friday its members will hold a silent protest of the event between Magnolia and Pinckney halls.
Trump was originally scheduled to visit Sun City in June, but he canceled the trip in the hours after the mass shooting at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston.
The event is free, but is limited to Sun City residents only."
Opening music Karate Kid theme song:
7/21/15, "Donald Trump campaign comes to Sun City Hilton Head," thestate.com
"After a week of contentious headlines about John McCain, veterans and immigrants, always-controversial presidential candidate Donald Trump held a campaign event July 21, 2015, at Sun City Hilton Head in Okatie."
"Trump's supporters are more excited than ever."
7/21/15, "Disavowed by GOP leaders, Trump has supporters cheering," AP, by KATHLEEN RONAYNE AND JILL COLVIN
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — "The Republican establishment may hope this is the beginning of the end for Donald Trump's circus-like run for the presidency.
But as the fallout intensifies after the billionaire businessman mocked Sen. John McCain's war hero status, Trump's supporters are more excited than ever about his chances.
"I love to see them jump all over him 'cause they're just giving him a clear road. I love it!" said Trump supporter Frank Candelieri, 89, from Merrimack, N.H., of the backlash his candidate faced in recent days.
Candelieri, a World War II vet who said he won a Purple Heart fighting in the Battle of the Bulge, said he wasn't offended by Trump's comments.
On Saturday, the reality television star dismissed McCain's reputation as a war hero because he was captured in Vietnam, saying he liked "people who weren't captured." McCain, the 2008 GOP presidential nominee, spent more than five years as a prisoner of war, enduring torture and refusing release ahead of fellow captives.
The remark sparked an avalanche of criticism that followed Trump throughout the weekend and into Monday as veterans groups and many Republican officials defended McCain.
"Anybody who suggests that John and his fellow POWs are somehow lacking and can't be called 'American hero,' you shouldn't be our commander-in-chief," South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, a Republican presidential contender himself, said in New York Monday.
The response from different Republican corners highlights discord within the GOP as the party grapples with a massive primary field.
Republican leaders and other 2016 candidates have been frustrated by Trump's brash campaign, which has often overshadowed their own in recent weeks. But many Trump backers in early-voting states argue the exchange is being overblown by the media and his opponents, who fear his sudden rise in early polls. Even many non-Trump supporters doubted the latest controversy would hurt his appeal among a slice of the electorate that is deeply frustrated with the Washington establishment and finds his unvarnished persona refreshing.
"I think it's going to improve his viability to be honest with you," argued Lou Gargiulo, one of Trump's county chairmen in New Hampshire. "The more Mr. Trump is being beaten on by people, obviously the better his polling numbers are."
While McCain may seem to some like an unusual target, the Arizona senator is deeply unpopular among many conservatives. Trump supporters say McCain started the spat by calling several thousand Trump supporters who attended a recent anti-illegal immigration rally in Phoenix "crazies." Trump late Monday softened his tone, albeit slightly, in an interview with Fox News: "Certainly if there was a misunderstanding, I would totally take that back," he said before calling on McCain to apologize to the Arizona voters he insulted.
Republican state Rep. Steve Stepanek, one of the first New Hampshire Republicans to endorse Trump, said he continues to be a strong supporter and echoed Trump's assertion that McCain has not done enough to help veterans or fix the Department of Veterans Affairs.
"He's a very influential person in the Senate and this should have been a top priority of his," Stepanek said.
In Iowa, Chris McAninch, 56 of Grimes, said the McCain comments have not changed his view of Trump as one of his top choices.
"I think he was fully in the right," McAninch said. "I want somebody who is straight shooting and tough for America."
Much of Trump's appeal is based on his brand as a political outsider and say-anything style, and backers acknowledge that what drives his appeal is sometimes going to get him into trouble.
The Des Moines Register, the largest newspaper in early-voting Iowa, published an editorial Monday night calling on Trump to drop out of the race. "Trump has proven himself not only unfit to hold office, but unfit to stand on the same stage as his Republican opponents," the Register said.
In South Carolina, Teresa Brown of Murrells Inlet said Trump "could have worded it better" when addressing McCain's criticism. But the 24-year-old graphic designer described Trump as an inspirational figure who draws conservatives and disaffected voters eager for a candidate "who tells it like it is," rather than conventional politicians "who are always too worried about offending people."
"He resonates with me — good, bad and ugly," said Gene Ho, another Trump backer from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, who works as a professional photographer.
Craig Williams, chair of the Carroll County Republicans in western Iowa, said Trump appeared to be gaining traction in the state because of his willingness to be direct.
"I've talked to a lot of people who are pretty happy with things that he's said. He's in a unique position to say what is on his mind," said Williams, who also serves on the Republican Party of Iowa State Central Committee and will remain neutral.
Robert Kiger, who launched a super PAC to support Trump, dismissed the controversy surrounding the comments as out-of-control political correctness.
"People are really, really tired of the establishment, people are tired of professional politicians who make huge promises, go to Washington and then do absolutely nothing," he said.
Colvin reported from Newark, New Jersey. Associated Press writers Catherine Lucey in Des Moines, Iowa, Bill Barrow in Atlanta, and Jonathan Lemire in New York contributed to this report."