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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Donald Trump takes the stage in Sarasota



Looks like at least 2,000 people are on hand so far to see Donald Trump in Sarasota, and based on our conversations with folks lined up outside the Robarts Arena, all the attacks in the world from his critics won't dampen the enthusasm for the reality TV star who has upended the GOP primary.

"He's honest, he tells it the way it is. He's going to close the border, which is very, very important. He's using his own money. He's go so many things foing for him," gushed Nancy Blemaster, a retiree from Venice, who gave a thumbs-down sign when asked about Floridians Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio.

"I just don't like them. They're part of the Republican establishment, and the establishment is as crooked at the Democrats," she said.

The scene at the Fruitville Road arena included homemade "Obama, you're fired" T-shirts, an elephant with "Make America Great Again" painted on his side, and at leass one pickup bedecked with a "Trump=Competence" placard.

"Look around you. This is only the beginning," retiree Ken Morrow of northeast Florida said, scoffing at the notion that Trump's support would not last.

UPDATE: Trump just landed outside the arena, where he asked someone to find him six or seven beautiful childrren to hop onto his helicopter. He says 6,000 people have showed up.

Were this another candidate, he said, it would be "50, 75 people. They're going to fall asleep, go home."

[Last modified: Saturday, November 28, 2015 2:54pm]


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