GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump walks on stage and gives a thumbs up to the audinece as he enters at Eisenhower Hotel in Gettysburg just after noon on Saturday, Oct. 22, 2016.(Photo: Noelle Haro-Gomez, Public Opinion)
GETTYSBURG, Pa. — In a building named for Dwight Eisenhower and on the land forever tied to an Abraham Lincoln speech, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump aimed to join their ranks as the 45th commander in chief with a policy speech outlining his first 100 days in office.
With two-and-one-half weeks left in the 2016 election and behind in the polls to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, Trump focused his speech on specific plans to ramp up support in a crucial swing state Saturday at the Eisenhower Complex in Gettysburg.
The setting contrasted with the raucous rallies associated with the Trump campaign, instead opting for a more intimate environment with about 300 invited supporters and volunteers.
"It's my privilege to be here in Gettysburg, hallowed ground where so many lives were given in service for freedom," Trump said. "Amazing place."
Trump called Lincoln's presidency an instance of great division in the country and repeatedly referenced the "of the people, by the people, for the people" line in the Gettysburg Address throughout his remarks.
"It is my hope that we can look at (Lincoln's) example to heal the divisions we are living through right now," he added.
Before laying out his plans, Trump listed the obstacles he says he is facing in a "rigged system," including allegations of voter fraud, Clinton's eligibility as a candidate and the "dishonest mainstream media," topics that garnered cheers from the audience.
GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump addresses the crowd at Eisenhower Hotel in Gettysburg just after noon on Saturday, Oct. 22, 2016. (Photo: Noelle Haro-Gomez, Chambersburg Public Opinion)
Trump also acknowledged the women who have recently come forward to allege sexual misconduct against him.
"Every woman lied when they came forward to hurt my campaign," said Trump, adding that he plans to sue them after the election.
Trump's policy talk veered from immigration to education to investment in the military.
"Radical Islamic terror is right around the corner," Trump said as he proposed suspension of immigration from terror-prone regions.
The speech also included Trump's ideas for cleaning up government corruption, such congressional term limits and bans on lobbying practices in Washington, D.C.
"This is my pledge to you," Trump concluded. "And if we follow these steps, we will once more have a government, of, by and for the people. We will make America great again."
The Clinton campaign responded to Trump's remarks on Saturday.
"Over the last few weeks, Donald Trump has further proven that he is temperamentally unfit and dangerously unqualified to serve as president and commander-in-chief," stated Corey Dukes, the Clinton campaign state director. "His unprecedented refusal to say he will accept the election's result and his rhetoric and actions that degrade and demean women have shown that he has built his divisive campaign on tearing our country apart."
Trump's supporters in attendance were thrilled by the opportunity to see him in person and noticed the local theme in his remarks.
"Based on Trump's speech, it was not an accident he chose to come to Gettysburg," John Minton of Aspers said.
John Lucas, of Perry County, had opportunities to attend larger Trump events closer to where he lives, but wanted to attend the speech in Gettysburg because of its focus on policy.
"I like what I've heard," he said. "Those are the policies I'm looking to see implemented."
Lucas singled out Trump's plans for national security, education and congressional term limits as ideals he supported, adding he's been "very concerned" with the direction the country has been going.
Rita Tuchalski, of Gettysburg, said she was motivated by Trump's stances on jobs and sanctuary cities as well as the prospect of a Clinton defeat.
"When you're a supporter of somebody and they tell you exactly what you want to hear, it makes you support them even more," she said.
Fred Jenkins and other supporters of GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump await Trump's arrival at the Eisenhower Hotel in Gettysburg on Saturday, Oct. 22, 2016. (Photo: Noelle Haro-Gomez, Chambersburg Public Opinion)