Trump takes over small city in South Carolina show of force



ICKENS, S.C. — Donald Trump built his 2016 campaign on the ability to pack supporters into arenas and fields. In his first early-state rally of 2024, he commandeered a small city.

Taking over the movie-set-like Main Street of a town of 3,300 in the hills of South Carolina on Saturday, Trump put on a show of force not only in his stronghold of rural America, but in an early primary state where he remains dominant.

In front of a crowd local officials estimated may have reached 50,000, Trump barged onto the home-state turf of two of his primary opponents, Nikki Haley and Sen. Tim Scott. The size of Trump's audience — and its fervor — was the latest ominous sign not only for them but for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Trump's top rival, who is desperately trying to peel off part of Trump's base in this first-in-the-South primary state.

In the concert-like atmosphere — with thousands standing for hours and dozens falling ill from the July heat — Trump appeared once again to dwarf the field.

“It was hardworking patriots like you who built this country, and it is hardworking patriots like you who are going to save our country,” Trump told the crowd, accompanied by a dramatic musical score.

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