Protesters thrown out of Donald Trump’s Louisville rally

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a rally at the Kentucky International Convention Center in Louisville, Ky. on Tuesday, March 1, 2016. Photo by Michael Reaves | Staff.

Cheyene Miller

Thousands of Donald Trump supporters crammed into the Kentucky International Convention Center in Louisville for an occasionally confrontational rally for the Republican presidential candidate.

Trump spoke through numerous interruptions by hecklers and protesters to encourage Kentucky voters to support him in the first ever Republican Kentucky caucus on Saturday.

“We’re going to take our country back and make it great again,” said the billionaire businessman Trump. “Saturday you have to get out and vote.”

After receiving a personal endorsement from New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Trump reaffirmed his often controversial positions on numerous political issues.

He said he still plans to build a wall on the Mexican border to prevent further illegal immigration, and will force the Mexican government to fund the expenditure.

“They don’t know it yet, but they’re going to pay for the wall,” said Trump in reference to the Mexican government.

Trump touted his accomplishments as a real estate entrepreneur and criticized the U.S. government’s current trade policies, particularly with China and Southeast Asian countries.

“We have with China a trade imbalance … we’re going to stop it, we’re going to renegotiate,” Trump said. “Right now we’re being led by incompetent people … It’s going to end.”

In a state where coal has historically been an economic and cultural staple, Trump promised to reinvigorate the coal industry.

He criticized the administration of President Barack Obama for its environmental agreements with China, and said China uses U.S. coal that the U.S. should be using itself.

“The coal industry is going to make a very big comeback,” said Trump, who also tackled the Obama administration’s economic policies, saying the U.S. has not had growth in the last fiscal quarter and the real unemployment rate was “20 percent, it’s not 5 percent.”

Trump took the opportunity to take shots at fellow Republican candidates, calling Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida) a “lightweight” and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) a “liar.”  He also panned Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton as being weak and not having the endurance for a presidential term.

“Hillary Clinton does not have the strength or the stamina to be president,” Trump said.

The speech was interrupted numerous times by hecklers and protesters, who were quickly removed by security employees and verbally confronted by Trump supporters. The protesters included supporters of Clinton and fellow Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders, as well as members of the Black Lives Matter movement.

After advocating for a temporary ban on Syrian immigrants and the use of waterboarding as an interrogation technique on terrorist suspects, Trump called for increasing the strength of the U.S. military.

“We have to be a little more unpredictable (with the military),” said Trump as he criticized elected officials who share defense plans with the media. “Be quiet and just hit them.”

Despite spending a portion of his speech verbally bashing protesters and telling them to “get the hell out,” Trump said Kentucky voters should support him on Saturday because he has their interests in mind as a self-funded candidate.

“The American dream is dead, but I’m going to make it bigger and better and stronger than ever before,” Trump said.

Trump’s ultra-conservative views did not resonate with all crowd members, including Clinton supporter Terri McAllister. The Louisville resident and Wild Eggs waitress said she was disgusted at the sight of protesters being physically removed by security and crowd members.

“Trump is all air, no substance. (He) talks about the same things,” McAllister said. “It’s unbelievable that Americans are this stupid and to put someone up like (Trump) is crazy.”

The Kentucky Republican Caucus is Saturday. Trump currently leads the Republican field by a 12.9-point margin, according to data from Real Clear Politics.