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Republican presidential candidate Donald J. Trump appeared in Virginia Beach Saturday, 17 days before the election, to rally supporters to turn out at the polls.
Between an earlier stop in Gettysburg, Pa. and a later event scheduled for Cleveland, Trump appeared at Regent University for an outdoor speech slated to begin at 3 p.m., but that began about 90 minutes later. It was Trump’s first event in Hampton Roads since early September and his first since the release of a 2005 videotape of him making derogatory comments about women. With a nod to a Hampton Roads audience, he said he wanted the U.S. Navy to have a fleet of 350 ships.
“Little Creek and Oceana are going to get a lot busier,” he said. “Norfolk Naval Shipyard will, too.”
In a Trump administration, he added, there was a three-word solution to improving the military: “Peace through strength.”
From the podium, Trump stood in front of an American flag backdrop and recited a list of what he said he would accomplish as President, from the biggest tax cut since Ronald Reagan and defending religious liberty to supporting law enforcement, taking care of veterans and saving the Second Amendment.
“We’re going to fight for your jobs,” he said. “And I’m going to fight to bring us all together as Americans.”
Under blue skies and bright sunshine, supporters held pink signs that read, “Women for Trump,” as well as blue signs bearing the names of Trump and his running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence.
Still, with recent polls showing Trump trailing the Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in Virginia, several speakers who introduced him referred to voter turnout.
“You need to get out,” said Sen. Frank Wagner, who is running for governor. “You need to talk to everyone that you possibly can.”
And Virginia Beach delegate Scott Taylor, an Iraq war veteran and former Navy Seal who is running for Congress, made an appeal as well.
“He needs all of us,” Taylor said.
Toward the end of his remarks, Trump also imparted a sense of urgency.
“Either we win this election or we lose our country as we know it,” he said.
As Trump left the stage, though, clapping and waving to the crowd, the song coming over the sound system set a tone of elegy.
It was “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” by the Rolling Stones.