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NYSNYS NEWS: Trump fills TImes Union Center for presidential primary rally, drawing cheers for attacks on rivals and promises to make America great again.
NYSNYS NEWS: Trump fills TImes Union Center for presidential primary rally, drawing cheers for attacks on rivals and promises to make America great again.

By Kyle Hughes

ALBANY, N.Y. (April 11) — Donald Trump cranked up the volume to 11 on Monday, drawing cheers from a full house of supporters with attacks on Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, “lying Ted Cruz,” a “dishonest” media, and anyone trying to undermine his populist juggernaut.

The hour-long rally with the billionaire showman was preceded by a smaller but similarly frenzied Albany event featuring Sanders. Both men told supporters the system is now “rigged” against ordinary Americans — with Sanders blaming Wall Street and the super-rich, and Trump pointing the finger at political insiders allied with powerful foreign interests who have conspired to strip the U.S. of its wealth and influence.

“This country is being ripped so badly by every nation in the world,” Trump said. “Any country we do business with, you name it, we come out on the bottom end or the short end.”

Trump noted that he and Sanders both agreed on the toll that free trade agreements have taken on the U.S. economy and jobs. Trump said U.S. money has rebuilt China, while supposed allies such as Saudi Arabia have siphoned billions from the U.S. while giving back nothing for the cost of the U.S. military protecting Persian Gulf oil supplies.

Sanders drew several thousand people inside and outside the Washington Avenue Armory three blocks from the Capitol, while the 17,000 seat downtown Times Union Center was almost full, with Trump supporters packing the arena floor. The only empty seats appeared to be in the nose-bleed section behind the podium Trump used.

The event was interrupted multiple times by anti-Trump protesters who were taken out by security. The rally began with an announcement asking supporters to not touch protesters, but to wave signs and chant if any protesters began acting up. “Get him out of here,” Trump said.

“Is there anything more fun than a Trump rally?” he joked after one protester was escorted out. “This was said to me by one of the great musical geniuses. I won’t tell you his name, I don’t want to get him in trouble. But he said, ‘Donald you’re the greatest in the world. You’re the only one who can fill an arena without a guitar,’ meaning without music”

Trump blasted Cruz, his main primary opponent who ridiculed Trump’s “New York values” in an earlier debate. Trump said 9/11 showed the world New York values.

“We have the greatest values, nobody has values like us,” Trump said. “And when we took the worst attack in the history of nation and we took that attack and we were strong and we were sharp and we were loving and we had heart and we rebuilt downtown Manhattan.”

“That’s what New York values really are and really represent,” Trump said, leading the crowd in chants of “USA! USA!”

“Our country as you know doesn’t win anymore,” Trump segued. “We lose on trade. We lose on our military, we can’t beat ISIS. We lose on our vets, we don’t take care of them. We lose on education, we’re like at the bottom of the list. We lose in every conceivable way.”

“Our healthcare is no good, Obamacare is a disaster,” he said. “We are going to repeal it and replace it.

He complained that even though he is “millions of votes head of Cruz,” the media and some party leaders want to deny him the nomination to run in November. “These are the most dishonest people,” he said, pointing to a riser and tables where TV cameras and reporters were located. “They’re terrible.”

He said the media did a similar disservice to Sanders, declaring he cannot win the nomination despite steadily winning primary contests against Clinton.

“The system, folks, is rigged,” he said. “It’s a rigged, disgusting, dirty system. It’s a very dirty system. And only a non-politician would say it … I’m here for one reason, to make America great again.”

He said all his rivals “are bought and sold by special interests and their lobbyists. A guy like Cruz is an example. He didn’t put on his personal disclosure form that he borrowed $1 million from Goldman Sachs … This is not Robin Hood, this is a bad guy — lying Ted Cruz.”

Trump faces Cruz in the April 19 president primary, with Ohio Gov. John Kasich running a distant third in polling. On the Democratic side Sanders and Clinton are competing.

All five candidates made stops in the Albany area in the past week, with more events around the state every day before the primary vote is held. A win in the New York primary is forecast to be key to winning a presidential nomination this year, and polls now put Trump and Clinton comfortably ahead of their rivals.

Trump was introduce by Carl Paladino, the Buffalo businessman who ran for governor in 2010. Paladino said Trump was not a “wimp” and ridiculed “limp wristed” Democrats.

Trump said a number of GOP state senators also attended the rally, with some identified by name on Twitter by reporters who spotted them walking in.