, 24 tweets, 4 min read Read on Twitter
Scene is set for Trump’s 2020 campaign kick-off. At the arena that hosts Orlando Magic. 20k+ people expected. Still two hours to go.
Trump’s rallies aren’t just for messaging - they’re a chance to harvest extra data from supporters.

(Attendees encouraged to text the campaign. They are then in the system to push messages to over next 18 months.)
And we're off. Pastor kicks off the rally two hours before Trump appears with a tub-thumping prayer.

"I pray for the spirit of the Lord to rest upon our President."
"I declare that President Trump will overcome every strategy from Hell..."

Crowd responds with a big "Amen"
First press heckle of the night as someone shouts “get off your phone” as reporters take notes during the prayer at start of rally.
First “Lock Her Up” of the night - minute 24. Comes as Lara Trump urges supporters to ignore the polls as they were wrong in 2016 with Hillary Clinton.

(She’s up after the pledge of allegiance and the national anthem.)
Donald Trump Jr comes onto the stage to Eye Of The Tiger.
Don Jr: "I know that you guys are not sick of winning, are you?
Crowd: "NO!"
Don Jr: "We're going to keep it going for a bit, right?
Crowd: "YES!"

All a bit panto.
Don Jr mocks Biden's line about government having failed everyday Americans.

"The problem is you've been in government for almost 50 years! If government's failed you, maybe you're the problem Joe Biden."
[This is genuinely a big challenge for Biden - how to win as the ultimate insider in the age of the outsider. I suspect Trump's 'SwampmanJoe' nickname will be more effective than 'SleepyJoe']
Don Jr dismissing reports of Trump's poor UK approval ratings: "You know who also had a terrible approval rating in the UK? George Washington."
I'd be amazed if Don Jr doesn't run for some political office in the next 5 yrs. Has punchy delivery style honed over dozens of rallies. Would be carrier of the Trump flame. Already beloved by that base. And he seems to relish the spotlight.
Lull in proceedings triggers a Mexican wave among the Trump faithful. Been said many times, but these rallies really do feel much more like entertainment than political gatherings.
Trump rally song list so far has included...

Simply The Best
Nessun Dorma
Tiny Dancer
Macho Man [genuinely]
We Will Rock You
Candle In The Wind
My Way
Sympathy For The Devil
Mike Pence is up. “It’s on everybody. Time for round two.”
Donald and Melania’s entrance. That song was booming out unbelievably loudly. #TrumpPence2020
Trump’s first attack on the media came less than 60 seconds into his speech.
Trump refers to himself during launch rally as "your favourite president Donald Trump".
A flavour of how brutal Trump's rhetoric will get during this campaign on the Democrats: "They want to destroy you, they want to destroy our country as we know it."
Trump riffing (again) on one of his favourite subjects - how the Clinton email scandal was never properly scrutinised.

"If I deleted one email, like a love note from Melania, it's the electric chair for Donald!"
Like all good shows, an unexpected special guest - Sarah Sanders.
Trump - the Democrats are "more radical, more dangerous and more unhinged than at any time in our history".
Trump's attack on the Dems boiled down to a line...

"No matter what label they use, a vote for any Democrat in 2020 is a vote for the rise of radical socialism and the destruction of the American dream."
Trump is finished. A speech packed with the greatest hits but lacking any new pledges. Greeted with panto-like delight from the crowd. In summary - give me four more years to complete the swamp draining.
One notable absence from Trump speech - any real direct attacks on Dem rivals. Passing swipes at Biden over manufacturing jobs and Bernie on healthcare. But largely stuck to a broader attempt to make Democrat = socialist.
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