Donald Trump brings presidential campaign to Wildwood, NJ

Most voters told Action News that border security and the economy are their biggest concerns this election cycle.

Monday, May 13, 2024 4:00AM
Nearly 100,000 people pack Wildwood beach for Donald Trump rally
Nearly 100,000 people pack Wildwood beach for Donald Trump rally

WILDWOOD, New Jersey -- Wildwood became a hot spot on Saturday as local officials said nearly 100,000 people packed the beach to get a glimpse of former President Donald Trump.

Many attended his rally to hear what he has to say as he juggles his presidential campaign and his ongoing hush money criminal trial in New York City.

This event marked Trump's first campaign event in Wildwood since he ran for re-election in 2020.

At the rally, he addressed everything from President Joe Biden's handling of the border, protests on college campuses, and the economy.

"Instead of a Biden tax hike, I'll give you a Trump middle class, upper class, lower class, business class big tax cut. You're going to have the biggest tax cut," Trump stated.

The gates opened at noon Saturday ahead of the rally on the beach.

Anticipation for the rally was high, as Trump's supporters set up shop on the streets of Wildwood, some even camping out overnight on the boardwalk.

Some people started lining up on the boardwalk Wednesday night.

"This is my 52nd rally. So we go to a lot of them. We're part of the front row Joe's," said Sharon Anderson of Etowah, Tennessee at the front of the line.

Lisa Fagan, spokesperson for the city of Wildwood, told The Associated Press that she estimated a crowd of between 80,000 and 100,000 attendees, based off her own observations on the scene Saturday, having seen "dozens" of other events in the same space.

Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, drew what his team called a "mega crowd" to a Saturday evening rally in the southern New Jersey resort town 150 miles (241 kilometers) south of the New York City courthouse where he has been forced to spend most weekdays sitting silently through his felony hush money trial.

The former president is alleged to have tried to conceal payments he made to an adult film star to keep an intimate encounter between the two of them a secret ahead of the 2016 election that ended with Trump in the White House.

Trump has called the trial a witch hunt and, without any evidence, has accused President Joe Biden of using the criminal justice system to attack him for political gain ahead of their presumptive rematch in November.

"They rigged the whole thing with the Department of Justice,"Trump told the crowd during the rally."I'vebeen indicted more than the great Alphonse Capone."

Many of Trump's supporters say they liked what they heard on Saturday. They also shrugged off the idea of Trump going to prison, instead focusing on other issues, such as the economy.

"We need to have some stability. We need our interest rates back down. We need our pensions and 401Ks and everything to be where they were," said Anne Marie Corbett from Denville.

"It's worse all the way around. Underneath Trump, we were able to take vacations, start a business. I was just an average go-to-work-everyday person and it's been hard since Biden's been in," added Nick Carangi from Millville.

Others said the border remains their primary concern.

"We don't know who's being let in our country now. We don't know if these people are terrorists. We don't know" said Sue Vessette from Winsted, Connecticut.

Most voters who spoke with Action News on Friday say border security and the economy are their biggest concerns this election cycle.

Mayor Ernie Troiano, a Republican, says this rally is a boom for the shore.

"Any time that you can have a president or a candidate for president come to your community, it's a win-win. It's an economic feast for the businesses," said Troiano.

Talia Cohen, manager of One Stop Shop, said the extra business during what is typically a slow period goes a long way for the family-owned shop.

On Saturday, she had Trump merch flying off the shelves.

"It's significant, it's way bigger than what we get in the summer of big weekends, which says a lot," Cohen said.

Meanwhile, Biden opened his weekend on the West Coast, where he hosted a fundraiser and blasted Trump on issues such as women's reproductive rights.

And in terms of jobs, the Biden Campaign pointed out that Trump left office with the worst job record since the Great Depression.

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