A record setting crowd gathered in Springfield on Monday night to get their first look at GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump.
More than 10,000 people showed up at the Prairie Capital Convention Center, beating the old record of 8,750 set by Elton John. The billionaire businessman and reality TV star worked the crowd’s emotions. He particularly dialed in on their anger and frustrations with the current administration and state of the country.
“What do we build here? What do we build? We build nothing,” Trump said.
The GOP front-runner said the country is headed in the wrong direction in both its domestic and foreign policies.
“We don’t like what’s happening with ISIS,” Trump said. “We don’t like what’s happening with everything.”
Trump also spent a lot of time off the issues, focusing instead on his popularity.
“My wife feels that though. She said, ‘You do not realize you are the biggest star anywhere in the world. You do not realize it,’” he said.
People in the crowd were dialed into Trump as the popular outsider speaking up for them. Eric Malkovich of Peoria said Trump understands the common man.
“He’s saying what a lot of these people are thinking. He’s not a politician,” Malkovich said.
Elias Ayers came from San Diego, California. He’s been protesting Trump’s comments about Mexicans calling them racist.
“They were some really racist comments. And I don’t think anyone who makes comments like that is fit to lead the country,” Ayers said.
Ayers and his companions interrupted the speech and removed from the crowd. Most of the crowd supported Trump and his sometimes controversial opinions including Angel Lael of Chatham.
“I like him because the man’s honest. He’s very honest. Honest about the issues,” Lael said.
Governor Bruce Rauner (R-Illinois) did not attend the event. The popular Illinois Republican said he is staying out of the primary race and will wait for the nominee.