LAS VEGAS — At a rowdy and lengthy pre-debate rally here Monday evening, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump called for his lower-polling rivals to drop out of the contest.
“A couple have left, a lot are gonna start leaving … it’s so many people … and many of them don’t have a chance … you say, what are you doing? Just go home and relax. Go home and relax,” Trump said.
The hour-long campaign rally, held in a massive convention room at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino, was contentious at times. On several occasions, security ejected protesters who interrupted his speech. The crowd — holding signs like “The Silent Majority Stands With Trump” — drowned out the protests by chanting “Trump, Trump.”
“Bye bye,” Trump said to laughs from the crowd as one protestor was ushered out.
The New York businessman owns a Trump hotel in this city, but a campaign spokeswoman told The Daily Caller the campaign decided to hold the event at the Westgate because they were “expecting a much larger crowd than the event space at Trump can accommodate.”
Because of Trump’s Secret Service detail, attendees who showed up for the speech had to go through metal detectors at the door.
Trump entered the room to Twisted Sister’s song “We’re Not Going to Take It.” At the beginning of his speech, Trump took aim at Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who has been accused of desertion.
“I tell you what,” Trump said of Bergdahl. “I’m just thinking of it now for the first time. If I get in, we will review his case, I promise you … we’ll be reviewing Hillary Clinton’s case too.”
Discussing Clinton, Trump referred to her as “low energy,” the same criticism he has launched at Jeb Bush.
“By the way, Hillary is low energy, OK?” he said. “She doesn’t have the strength and she doesn’t have the stamina to be president. She doesn’t. She doesn’t.”
At one point, Trump, discussing Clinton, quipped that she “puts on her pantsuit every morning.” When the crowd laughed at the remark, Trump replied: “Nothing wrong with that.”
The candidate won applause by promising he will never be “a politician.” He also referenced [crscore]Ted Cruz[/crscore]’s recent rise in some polls, but criticized the media for saying Cruz is surging when Trump is still dominating most surveys.
Trump, the Republican front-runner, is set to take the center stage at CNN’s prime time debate scheduled for Tuesday night at the Venetian hotel and casino. Others participating include Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Chris Christie, Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, John Kasich, [crscore]Rand Paul[/crscore] and [crscore]Marco Rubio[/crscore].