BETHPAGE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — With New York now the focus of all the 2016 presidential candidates, Donald Trump headed to Long Island Wednesday evening to rally his supporters in his home state.
As CBS2’s Lou Young reported, the politics were high-decibel at the Grumman Studios on South Oyster Bay Road in Bethpage, and the crowd was near capacity in the cavernous building. Police told CBS2 just under 10,000 people showed up to the rally, though Trump made mention of 17,000.
The crowd cheered as Trump raised his voice triumphantly.
“We’re going to start winning again, folks,” Trump said. “Going to happen. Going to happen. Going to happen.”
He added: “We’re going to rebuild our military… nobody is going to mess with us! We’re going to knock the hell out of ISIS.”
But nothing got the crowd going more than the candidate’s words on immigration.
“We are going to have a strong border. We are going to build the wall,” Trump said.
Indeed, “build the wall” was the mantra two weeks shy of the New York primary, as Trump continued to run as an outsider.
As WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell reported, Trump also slammed GOP opponent Ted Cruz – who was campaigning in the Bronx earlier in the day. He also slammed Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton.
“You know lying Ted Cruz came today, he couldn’t draw 100 people — 100 people. How bad is Hillary? How bad?”
Trump called on everyone in the room to get out the vote, and to encourage others to do the same.
“You’re going to say that it was the most important vote that you ever cast,” Trump said.
Meanwhile, protesters gathered outside the Grumman Studios as Trump spoke.
“His lack of understanding about the world and the economy and how it works,” one anti-Trump demonstrator said. “His message of hate for Muslims, for immigrants, for women, is not acceptable.”
But there were also some supporters outside the rally, WCBS 880’s Mike Xirinachs reported.
“He is uniquely qualified for the position and I think he’s the only one that we can trust,” a woman said.
There had been concerns about unrest, but police said it would not be tolerated.
“We’re not going to tolerate any acts of violence. Everybody is more than welcome to express their views and they have the right to those views and we’re going to protect everyone’s rights,” acting Nassau County Police Commissioner Thomas Krumpter said before the rally.
Police said there were two arrests inside the Trump rally for fighting. No one was arrested outside the rally.
Six people were taken to area hospitals — primarily seniors who had been on their feet too long, CBS2’s Tracee Carrasco reported. Seven others were treated at the scene for similar problems.
But as CBS2 Political Reporter Marcia Kramer reported, the loss hardly dampened the enthusiasm of Trump supporters, many of whom arrived at the rally well ahead of time.
One woman named Amy said before the rally that she was super-excited.
“Everybody needs a change,” she told 1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria. “We’re only going down, we need to get up. There’s no jobs for our kids, I’ve got a kid in college right now going to Hunter, I’m worried.”
Some other supporters carried homemade letters spelling out the name “Trump” in blazing red glitter as they arrived hours early for the rally. They wanted to be in the front row.
“I think he’s a strong leader and really, I just love him,” said Michelle Mitchell. “I think he’s great. He says the right things.”
“I think we need a change in America, and I think he’s the man that will do the job,” said Theresa Fisher of Bohemia.
“I want to be first on line. I want to be the first one here. I’ve been waiting forever,” said Mario Posillcio of Westbury, “because I love Trump, I love what he stands for.”
A new poll gave Trump home-court advantage in New York. The Monmouth University poll of New York voters had Trump with 52 percent of support, Ohio Gov. John Kasich at 25 percent, and U.S. Sen. Cruz at 17 percent.
The margin of error in the Monmouth University poll was plus or minus 5.6 percent.
Interestingly in the Monmouth University poll, when voters were asked about some of Trump’s controversial statements – including punishing women who have abortions – 57 percent said the comments would have no impact on their vote.
CBS News estimated that Trump needs to win 55 percent of the remaining delegates in primary races to clinch the nomination. As it stood following the Wisconsin primary on Tuesday, Trump had 743 delegates, Cruz 506, and Kasich 143.
A total of 1,237 delegates are required to clinch the nomination ahead of the convention.
The New York primary is on Tuesday, April 19.
(TM and © Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)