Donald Trump takes over First Niagara Center; packs arena with thousands

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Thousands of supporters packed into the First Niagara Center, with some lining up hours before hand, to hear the Republican front-runner speak about his views in Buffalo.

Bringing the extremely popular candidate and reality television star to the Queen City was a priority of many of his local supporters, including the vastly vocal Carl Paladino, who sits on the Buffalo School Board. What did take some by surprise, were his other supporters, including congressmen and the head coach of the Buffalo Bills.

Rex Ryan, who did not act as a representative of his employer, said, “We’re all here tonight because we all support Donald Trump.”

He voiced his support to much applause, as he told a story about some of his first interactions with the candidate, which he said impressed him.

“There’s so much I admire about Mr. Trump,” Ryan said. “He says what’s on his mind.”

Soon after Ryan left the stage, he hugged Trump and a roaring cheer led the candidate to the stage.

As he worked to speak over the crowd, he began his speech by remedying any past conflict he had with Kim and Terry Pegula, who outbid him to become the new owners of the Buffalo Bills.

“You’re going to have a really, really great season … you have great owners,” Trump said, admitting he felt slightly bitter when he first lost after bidding $1 billion for the team.

His comments on the Bills were soon interrupted by a string of protesters voicing their displeasure with the candidate, a common occurrence at his large rallies. In total, police say they ejected 21 people from the event, eventually arresting six for disorderly conduct or trespassing. 

But the speaker forged on, outlining his points in a speech that lasted just under an hour to roughly 11,400 fans at the First Niagara Center.

“We are going to bring Buffalo back … we are going to bring America back,” Trump began, evoking screams from his supporters.

He spoke on a wide variety of topics, many times circling back to hit his favored topics again. He made sure to hit topics relevant to Buffalo natives, like the loss of jobs in New York State as a whole.

Trump briefly cited statistics, saying 40 percent of jobs lost in western New York were lost in the last two decades, which he blamed on poor trade deals. He blamed some of those trade deals on his opponents like Hillary Clinton, who spoke in Buffalo just over a week ago.

Following in his trend of nicknaming his opponents, he deemed Clinton’s nickname would be ‘Crooked Hillary,’ a similar nickname to republican opponent ‘Lying Ted.’

“We’re going to beat Crooked Hillary so bad your heads will spin,” Trump said.

He also looked towards his two standing Republican challengers, saying, “Ted Cruz hates New Yorkers … no New Yorker can vote for Kasich.”

The two opponents trail Trump in all major polls by large margins.

Trump transitioned his thoughts on poor trade deals into the trade deficit the United States has with its southern neighbor Mexico. Trump called that deficit a whopping $56 billion deficit, saying he’ll rectify it when in office, saying he’ll do so by strengthening the border and creating a 35 percent tariff on companies that leave the United States to produce goods there.

“We’re going to build a wall … Mexico is going to pay for that wall,” Trump said, later calling it the ‘Great Wall of Trump.’

He spoke on other trade partners the United Sates is aligned with, like Germany, South Korea and Japan, with major economies. He said each exploits trade deals, and should repay the country to right the trade balance.

Noting he would do away with poor deals, he also said he would do away with broken establishment systems that present voters with convoluted rules, like those explained in this piece explaining the intricacies of the New York primary. 

“I am no fan of Bernie Sanders, but Bernie won this and that and he has no chance because of the crooked system,” Trump said, calling the entire super delegate system rigged.

Many of his comments were aimed at pleasing his audience, making sweeping promises to right what he called a sinking ship.

“We have a movement going on that has never been seen in this country,” Trump said, urging voters to get out on Tuesday to campaign and vote for him. “You are going to remember, that’s the greatest vote I have ever cast.”

The candidate is the second Republican candidate to come to the Queen City, and the fourth presidential candidate — only John Kasich did not visit Buffalo — to speak to supporters in western New York. He’s the first to do so in an arena as large as the First Niagara Center.

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