Republican presidential primary frontrunner Donald Trump returned to Oklahoma City on Friday for a rally at the Cox Convention Center, where he quickly went on the offensive against his two closest rivals, U.S. Sens. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz.
Trump criticized Rubio for his attendance record in the Senate, his record on immigration and for his poor debate performance in New Hampshire, which Trump labeled as a “meltdown like I’ve never, ever seen.” He also said Rubio sold a house to a lobbyist for whom he was writing legislation.
Trump said if he wins the primaries in the Senators’ home states of Florida and Texas, it would be “embarrassing.”
“How do you beat a sitting Senator in Florida? How do you beat a sitting Senator in Texas? They could have an embarrassing time,” Trump said.
Rubio held a rally earlier in the day at the Chevy Bricktown Event Center in Oklahoma City where he called Trump “a con man” and mocked the billionaire for a series of tweets with misspelled words.
New Jersey governor Chris Christie, who endorsed Trump earlier in the day, introduced the billionaire to the crowd.
“America needs a strong leader who’s going to restore America’s strength around the world, and Donald Trump is that man,” Christie said.
Trump stuck to many of the same themes of previous rallies - immigration, building a wall along the border between the United States and Mexico, international trade and repealing Obamacare.
At one point, a protester unfurled a banner that read “Islamophobia is not the answer” and displayed a shirt that read “KKK Endorses Trump.” Trump criticized security for removing the protestor too slowly.
“In the good old days, they’d rip him out of that seat so fast. But today everybody’s politically correct. Out country is going to hell with being politically correct,” Trump said.
“In all fairness, I love the police, they’re the greatest. But they’re afraid to move. They’re afraid to move. They want to keep their jobs. They don’t want to lose their pensions. We are really becoming a frightened country and it’s very, very sad,” Trump said.
Nate Weikal from Oklahoma City said he will vote for Trump because he is a successful businessman.
“I mostly support him because he is a fiscal conservative,” Weikal said. “I think the debt that this country has is absolutely enormous and ridiculous and I believe that he is the only person who would be able to turn it around for us.”
John Naeher said he supports Trump because the Republican establishment has not done any of the things they have promised to do.
“They asked us to give them the House, and we gave them the House of Representatives, and what the heck do they do with it? Nothing,” Naeher said. “We gave them the Senate and they did squat.”
Naeher concedes that Donald Trump is “a little bit of a rebel,” but he should help the Republicans learn to fight as well as the Democrats.
Oklahoma will vote in the Super Tuesday primaries on March 1, and it will be a weekend for political activity in the Oklahoma City metro. In addition to the Trump and Rubio rallies on Friday, former President Bill Clinton will campaign on behalf of Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton on Saturday at 9:00 a.m. at the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond. Hillary Clinton’s rival for the Democratic nomination, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, will appear at the Cox Convention Center in Oklahoma City on Sunday at 2:00 p.m. Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas will be at the Chevy Bricktown Events Center on Sunday at 4:00 p.m.