Donald Trump brings record crowd to Baton Rouge River Center

Trump visits Baton Rouge
(Source: WAFB)
(Source: WAFB)

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - If viewing this story on a mobile device or in an email, click HERE to watch the full video of the rally.

Fresh off a New Hampshire Primary win, Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump visited Baton Rouge Thursday night for a campaign rally with a full house.

Additional Video:

RAW: Donald Trump holds campaign rally in Baton Rouge - Part 1 

Miss USA was set to take the stage at the same center seven months ago amid controversy stirred by its then part owner Donald Trump. A month before that, Trump had announced his intention to run for president and in the middle of his announcement called Mexican immigrants rapists and criminals.

Those comments triggered a wave of shocked backlash that led to sponsors and television networks dropping the Miss USA pageant. It was also the start of Trump's improbable rise to popularity, fueled by that same brash, controversial talk that has appealed to an embittered portion of the Republican Party.

Trump's popularity in Louisiana was solidified by a packed crowd inside the same arena that hosted Miss USA.  According to Michael Day, the River Center's general manager, the area was at maximum occupancy of 10,000 and the State Fire Marshal had to cut off the crowd trying to come in.

The event was free to the public, but attendees had to get a ticket from online. The previous record attendance for the Baton Rouge River Center was 9,800 for Elton John. The Baton Rouge River Center can hold 10,000 people.

Though he started a full hour late, Trump's supporters in the crowd created an electric atmosphere, interrupting his speech with chants or cheers or various outcries. As a result, Trump's address seemed more like a stream of consciousness, bouncing from stories and antidotes about "bloodsucking politicians" or the "dishonest media" to hot button issues in response to the crowd's cheering.

"He's all over the map on policy, but he's putting 10, 15, 30,000 people in arenas," noted political analyst Clay Young. "Not saying he'll win, but this thing has become real."

Among his few policy points, Trump said he will repeal the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, along with Common Core. He also said that he would build up America's military.

"We are going to build our military so big, so powerful that nobody is going to mess with us. Nobody," Trump said to cheers.

On ISIS, Trump reiterated a point he's said before, that he believes America should "bomb the hell out of the oil."

Trump also took several jabs at reporters present, complaining that coverage doesn't include rally turnout. When the crowd egged him on to use foul language, he responded by saying the media would crush him for using language that only slightly foul.

He also took the opportunity to bash his opponents. All the while, the crowd cheered.

"People seem to be eating it up," observed Young.

Louisiana primaries are scheduled for March.

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