ATLANTA — The president who told the nation they were watching him came back.
Over a packed South Carolina campaign rally on Friday, Mr. Trump tied himself ever so briefly to a violent protester, saying he should be put in jail and joined by supporters who chanted “lock her up” — an angry echo of his repeated and illegal election-year attacks on a Democratic presidential rival.
The rally in Bristow, Va., was something of a homecoming for Mr. Trump, who has conspicuously ignored his key South Carolina base of support since his state lost its Electoral College votes in the 2016 presidential election, allowing him to claim the so-called Reagan mantle that so far he seems to have no interest in pursuing.
“Well, we won’t get charged, because the president is the president. Why?” the question that has followed Mr. Trump on his journey from his white, working-class base to the suburbs has often gone unanswered. On Friday, when a protester tried to shout over him, Mr. Trump snapped and said loudly, “get him out of here.”
Mr. Trump again turned to his early predecessor for advice: “Right now you have a 35-35 split with women voters and the majority of this country,” he said. “They’re just not voting. They’re not voting. They’re not voting.”
The crowds are still there, and the mania still runs strong in the back of the gymnasium where the rally was held, where the sign out front that asked voters to “Vote for TRUMP and for America” and “Vote straight ticket blue or vote for stupid” was replaced with “America and for the deplorables” because, according to the president, they’re the only ones left.
“At the beginning it was just a poll. Now they call me the frontrunner,” he said. “But we got a long way to go. We’ve got 10 months to go.”
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