Donald Trump holds rally in Bethpage

BETHPAGE, Long Island (WABC) -- Donald Trump hoped that by bringing his campaign to his home state he could re-spark his suddenly vulnerable Republican presidential bid.

Wednesday night he held a rally with thousands of supporters on Long Island - along with hundreds of protesters.

"First of all it's great to be home, this is home, it's great to be home. We love New York," Trump said.

There was a supportive and large crowd, estimated at somewhere between 8,000 and 10,000, in an old Grumman hangar in Bethpage.

There Trump blasted his closest rival Ted Cruz, reminding everyone of what Cruz once said in a debate about New York.

"And I've got this guy standing over there, looking at me, talking about 'New York values', with scorn on his face, with hatred, with hatred of New York," Trump said.

The latest polling shows Donald Trump with a commanding lead in New York.

He's already looking ahead to the election this fall.

"By the way, I will beat Hillary so badly in the general election," Trump said.

There were only two minor protests inside with two arrests. Just before the rally a man in a red, white, and blue cowboy hat was taken out. Then, about 20 minutes into his speech the crowd chanted pointing to a couple of protesters, and they were also escorted out.

"Get 'em out, don't hurt the person, don't hurt the person," Trump said.

This crowd was loud and many spoke of anger and disappointment, us against them.

"The politicians promised us things and they didn't do what they promised. This is how this man has risen to where he is today. It's a lot of frustration," said Richard Zappa, a Trump supporter.

"I just think he's great. We should definitely build that wall. They need to take back the country honestly," said Steven Johnson, a Trump supporter.

Trump wrapped up with a plea to vote April 19th, and he closed on a familiar line.

"We are going to win, win, win. We are going to make America great again. I love you," Trump said.

While there were cheers inside the rally it was a different scene outside.

Hundreds of protestors lined the streets, both for and against Trump.

It may have been unseasonably cold Wednesday night, but along Oyster Bay Road, the tempers were hot with dueling rallies separated at one point by horses and cops in riot gear.

"Get radical Islam out of the US!" a protester yelled.

"He's making Americans afraid of Muslims, he's making Americans afraid of Mexicans, and he degrades women," said Nooshi Mahmood, an anti-Trump protester.

"Their suggestion is that somehow this president, potential president, is a racist. Donald J. Trump is not a racist," said Steve Baranello, a Trump supporter.

"He comes off as a bully and I think there are so many people that want to support him, but they get turned off because of his temperament," said AJ Walkin, a Trump supporter.

Several hundred protesters squared off outside Grumman Studios, and amid ugly chants and signs and insults hurled both ways.

"There's a lot of anger here," a protester said.

There was at least some room for thought. Robert Epstein is a high school student from Westchester. For a kid who wants to study political science, this was quite a lesson.

"I think that there's a lot that we can learn about our country and about current political divide just from experiencing it. To see it first hand is really something special," Epstein said.

"There's a lot of civic engagement going on a lot more people interested than any other year. I think it's really getting people engaged," said Alicia Munian, an anti-Trump protester.

Those in attendance were engaged and mostly civil. There seemed to be at least one cop for every protester.

And despite a few hairy moments, Nassau County Police Commissioner Tom Krumpter called the night a success when it came to keeping the peace.

"You know we're sort of Switzerland at the Nassau County Police Department. We don't have political positions and we just here to protect both sides and protect the safety and security and make sure it's a safe event," Krumpter said.
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