Trump draws a crowd in his latest South Carolina visit
SUMMERVILLE, S.C (WRDW/WAGT) - Former President Donald Trump is picking up more major endorsements ahead of South Carolina’s first-in-the-South Republican primary.
The announcements came during Trump’s campaign stop in Summerville on Monday.
He spoke to a sold-out crowd for about 40 minutes here – the first stop in the Lowcountry of his 2024 campaign.
“We’re going to win the South Carolina primary by a lot,” he said. “We’re up by about 50 points but we don’t want to take it for granted.”
A crowd of well over 1,000 supporters packed the shadeless yard of a Dorchester County boating manufacturer – where temperatures peaked in the upper 80s Monday afternoon.
“When I left the office business was roaring like a 400 horsepower Mercury outboard motor,” Trump said. “But then the economy slammed into a pile of rocks known as crooked Joe Biden.”
He promised to end Biden’s “war on American energy” and reclaim energy independence.
“In other words, we will drill, baby, drill,” he said.
Trump said he won South Carolina twice by record numbers and pledged to do it again.
“We did phenomenally here. We’ve always done well here and we’re going to do it at a level that nobody’s ever seen,” he said. “So we broke the record twice. We’re going to break it a third time. We’re going to break our own record.”
He said he intends to “take back our country and we’re going to make America great again.”
The Trump campaign rolled out a slew of new endorsements – including from two statewide officeholders – Attorney General Alan Wilson and Secretary of State Mark Hammond.
MORE FROM NEWS 12:
- Will Donald Trump ever see the inside of a Ga. courtroom?
- Jimmy, Rosalynn Carter make surprise appearance at festival
They join backers that include Gov. Henry McMaster, Lt. Gov. Pamela Evette and Sen. Lindsey Graham – whose name evoked boos from the crowd when Trump mentioned him Monday.
The new endorsements come as Trump maintains his sizable lead in polls of South Carolina Republicans – although the state’s former governor, Nikki Haley, has gained traction in recent weeks.
But Trump supporters said they’re not sweating it – five months out from South Carolina’s Feb. 24 Republican primary.
“It’s ludicrous to think he’s not going to be the candidate, definitely in South Carolina,” Michael Telesca said. “I just see him being too strong, and he’s too far ahead.”
Supporters of the former president also brushed off any concerns about his looming indictments – including those alleging he tried to interfere in the 2020 election.
“I’m going to support him just offset the negative treatment that he’s getting,” Telesca said.
Trump was also dismissive of his charges – as he continues to deny those results, nearly three years later.
“This is high-level election interference, and it’s happening for a single reason: because I’m the only candidate they do not want to run against,” he said.
Monday’s visit comes just two days before the second Republican presidential debate.
Trump is planning to skip it – as he did for the first debate last month.
In a call with reporters ahead of Trump’s visit – South Carolina Democratic Party Chair Christale Spain said South Carolinians can’t afford to forget who the former president is.
She says that includes his efforts to put more conservative justices on the U.S. Supreme Court – who voted to overturn Roe v. Wade – paving the way for South Carolina’s current six-week abortion ban.
Copyright 2023 WRDW/WAGT. All rights reserved.