Donald Trump ditches the Teleprompter in Tampa
TAMPA — If his fans worry Donald Trump might start heeding GOP leaders, tone down his rhetoric and shift to subdued "presidential" teleprompter speeches, his rally Saturday at the Tampa Convention Center should put to rest concerns he may become boring and conventional.
Once a Donald Trump, it seems, always a Donald Trump.
For more than 45 minutes, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee repeatedly mocked "Crooked Hillary" Clinton, calling her "a total mess" and "unstable." He threw his arms around the American flag, literally, to show his love of America. He called for his Republican Party to "get their act together" and unify behind him — even as he trashed fellow Republicans Mitt Romney ("a stone cold loser") and Jeb Bush ("Who the hell cares?").
Trump scoffed at accusations that he's racist, touting an endorsement from boxing promoter Don King that King has denied making, and he apologized for insensitivity in referring to Democratic Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren as "Pocahontas" because she had claimed Cherokee heritage.
"Yes I will apologize — to Pocahontas," said Trump, as the crowd of about 4,000 roared. "I'll apologize, because Pocahontas is insulted."
And Trump left no doubt that he is determined to win Florida's 29 electoral votes.
"I'll be here so much, I'll be in Florida, I'll be with you so much over the next five months that you're going to say, 'Please keep him the hell out of Florida. He's driving us crazy,' " Trump quipped. "Seriously, we need Florida. It's absolutely imperative. They say if you don't win Florida, it's over."