HIALEAH, Fla.—Former President Donald Trump called on the Republican National Committee (RNC) to stop “wasting time” on his “weak and ineffective” rivals for the Republican nomination.
President Trump drew a large, enthusiastic crowd during a rally in Hialeah, Florida, a Hispanic-dominant neighborhood of Miami. The rally was held only a few miles from the third Republican presidential debate, and drew a diverse crowd in the one-time Democrat stronghold—a fresh sign that the area has tilted in Republicans’ favor.
Because President Trump’s speech began about an 90 minutes later than scheduled, some people at the event wondered whether he was trying to more directly conflict with the debate time in nearby Miami. That debate began at 8:00 p.m. ET, while President Trump’s speech started at around 8:30 p.m. ET.
But Jason Miller, a senior advisor to President Trump, said there was no purposeful delay.
“President Trump loves to get out to the people, loves to speak to the people who’ve been patiently waiting and been here for hours,” Mr. Miller said. “So soon as he was able to get here, he did.”
During his speech, President Trump hit on several of the most common themes of his many rallies: he decried Democrats for allegedly “rigging elections” against him, vowing not to let it happen again, accused the federal government of being weaponized against Democrats’ political enemies, and repeated his promise to undertake the largest deportation initiative in American history.
President Trump also took the opportunity to attack his Republican opponents for the nomination, citing his stunning success in polls for both the primary and general elections.
“Our nation is in very serious trouble,” President Trump said.
“It’s time for the Republican establishment to stop wasting time and resources trotting to push weak and ineffective RINOs and Never-Trumpers that nobody wants and nobody is going to vote for,” he added, referring to “Republicans in name only,” a pejorative used by some conservatives to attack certain Republicans.
President Trump cited his massive double-digit lead over the rest of the Republican field to bolster this demand.
“In the primary we’re leading the field with an average of 61 percent for Trump,” he said. “And you have what, seven or eight candidates left? I think they’re at a debate tonight. Nobody’s talking about it. Everybody’s watching us.”
Across town, security fences were set up outside the location of the Republican debate. However, only a few stragglers could be seen looking on.
Though Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis had a relatively strong start in his campaign, garnering around 20 percent support early on, that support has dwindled as the months wore on. Though he’s still the runner-up in most polls, his support has plummeted to around 10 percent.
Other candidates, including third-place pick Nikki Haley, are polling in the single-digits.
Trump Comments on Rivals
Speaking about the debate performance of his rivals, President Trump said, “I watched these guys coming in … They’re not watchable. You know, the last debate was the lowest rated debate in the history of politics. So do you think we did the right thing by not participating?”
Mr. Miller agreed.
He told The Epoch Times that he and other members of the campaign team watch the debate, and were unimpressed.
“The senior team watched it,” Mr. Miller said. “We watched it and I can tell you that none of the candidates moved the needle in the slightest.”
“Every dollar that is spent on other candidates … is effectively helping Joe Biden,” Mr. Miller said. “We should unite behind President Trump and focus on beating Joe Biden.”
Arizona’s Kari Lake, whose failed bid for governor has sparked a firestorm of controversy over election integrity, jokingly compared other candidates who attended the debate to “the kids’ table at Thanksgiving dinner.”
President Trump has now boycotted all three debates hosted by the RNC, and ratings for the debate have been low and dropping since the first debate. Competitors for the nomination have been unable to make inroads.
Though the former president rarely has a kind word for his rivals, he did indicate he respects Vivek Ramaswamy, a biotech entrepreneur seen as a “Trump-lite” by many observers—and indeed, Mr. Ramaswamy has marketed himself as such.
Though President Trump didn’t reference Mr. Ramaswamy by name, he says he appreciated it when Mr. Ramaswamy expressed his support for President Trump’s first term in the White House.
“One of them said last week that on the stage that President Trump is the greatest president in many generations,” President Trump said. “I sort of like him, you know that?
“I mean, how can I dislike him? He’s so nice.”
President Trump also has reason for optimism about his prospects in the general election.
Throughout his primary bid, a key criticism by his primary opponents has been that he can’t win the general election.
That argument has somewhat lost its force, however, in the wake of a recent New York Times/Sienna poll that found President Trump leading against President Joe Biden in five of six major swing states.
President Trump referenced this poll during his speech.
“You probably saw last week, the New York Times—no big fan of mine—and the Sienna poll, very well respected. In the general election, we are leading crooked Joe Biden in almost all of the swing states.
“Nationally, we’re up at numbers that frankly nobody’s seen before,” he said. “Nobody has seen it before.”
President Trump’s latest rally drew a diverse crowd of supporters in the one-time Democrat stronghold of Hialeah, the sixth-largest city in Florida.
Mr. Lavale Degraffeinreid, 27, who is black, made the trip from Charlotte, North Carolina, made a new Hispanic friend, Mr. Elmer Melendez, 41, of Hialeah, at the rally.
Both men told The Epoch Times that they agreed on the main reasons they support President Trump. Those include his policies for enforcing U.S. immigration laws, putting America first and building a stronger economy, resulting in lower prices on goods and services.
Mr. Degraffenreid said people who accuse President Trump of being racist are misinformed.
“It’s not about color. He looks at people as human beings. He looks at who you are. He just wants the best for the American people. But he doesn’t see white; he doesn’t see black. He doesn’t see Indian or Hispanic. It’s just you’re an American. And that’s it at the end of the day.”
Hialeah Police Maj. Fernando Villa told The Epoch Times at around 6:00 p.m. ET, two and a half hours before President Trump spoke, that the crowd already exceeded 8,000 people.
By the time the president took the stage, Mr. Miller said, that number was closer to 10,000.
Mr. Miller contended that no other presidential candidate—Republican or Democrat—can draw a crowd as large as the one Trump attracted to Hialeah.
Hialeah, a part of historically blue Miami-Dade County, voted by double-digit margins for Mr. DeSantis, running on a Trump-like platform, last November.
The diverse crowd demonstrated President Trump’s rising popularity among Hispanic voters, who have steadily backed Republicans more than Democrats in recent years.
The fourth and final Republican debate—which will almost certainly be boycotted by President Trump—will take place on Dec. 6 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
However, with the president’s continuing dominance of the polls, it increasingly seems like a foregone conclusion that he’ll glide to the Republican nomination next year.