Donald Trump on Building a Wall, His Boring Foes and His Lead

Cliff Owen/AP

MAN­AS­SAS, Vir­gin­ia—GOP front-run­ner Don­ald Trump brought his road show to North­ern Vir­gin­ia Wed­nes­day even­ing, with the usu­al in­sults for his op­pon­ents, ri­dicule of Hil­lary Clin­ton, boasts about his poll num­bers, and then also one bit of news: the con­struc­tion ma­ter­i­als for his long-prom­ised wall.

“It’s go­ing to be made of hardened con­crete, and it’s go­ing to be made out of re­bar. That’s steel,” Trump said. “And we’re go­ing to set them in nice, heavy found­a­tions.”

That de­scrip­tion came in an an­swer to a child’s ques­tion near the end of his hour-and-20-minute re­marks. At an­oth­er point, he also said that al­though the bor­der with Mex­ico is 2,000 miles long, the wall only needed to be 1,000 miles long be­cause the rest of the bor­der has nat­ur­al bar­ri­ers that serve equally well.

Trump did open his vis­it to the Prince Wil­li­am County Fair­grounds some 30 miles west of Wash­ing­ton, D.C., with a mo­ment of si­lence for the mass-shoot­ing vic­tims in San Bern­ardino, Cali­for­nia, earli­er in the day. And later he men­tioned in passing that he would vis­it Is­rael soon and meet with Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Net­an­yahu—a plan he will likely elab­or­ate upon in his ap­pear­ance at the Re­pub­lic­an Jew­ish Co­ali­tion can­did­ates’ for­um Thursday.

But oth­er­wise it was a speech that has be­come routine at the celebrity busi­ness­man’s events since he entered the race in June: la­ments about Amer­ica’s de­cline in the world (“We nev­er win any­more!”); taunts about his op­pon­ents (former Flor­ida Gov. Jeb Bush, once merely “low-en­ergy,” was now so bor­ing that his new nick­name was “sleep­mas­ter”); boasts about his lead in the polls (“Iowa: No. 1. New Hamp­shire: No. 1. South Car­o­lina—big, biiiiig mar­gin!”).

The 800 or so of his fans in at­tend­ance ate it up, some laugh­ing up­roari­ously every time he men­tioned “China” with his par­tic­u­lar pro­nun­ci­ation or con­cluded that the na­tion was led by “stu­pid” people who, among oth­er things, al­lowed the value of im­ports to ex­ceed the value of ex­ports each year.

“He’s a show,” said Artie Surkamp, a build­ing con­tract­or from Man­as­sas who with his wife turned out to see and hear it for them­selves. Surkamp said he knew about Trump from pre­vi­ous vis­its to his At­lantic City casi­nos and, more re­cently, from his real­ity TV show. “Of course, we’ve seen him on The Ap­pren­tice.”

Surkamp said he was “in­ter­ested” in Trump’s mes­sage, but not ne­ces­sar­ily com­mit­ted to sup­port­ing him.

Oth­ers said they were cer­tain to vote for him, pre­cisely be­cause of his big­ger-than-life per­sona. “His hon­esty. His busi­ness acu­men,” said Jim Tars, a re­tir­ee from nearby Gaines­ville. “He says what a lot of people think…. And he’s not be­hold­en to any­one.”

Vir­gin­ia is among a dozen states vot­ing in caucuses and primar­ies on March 1. In all, nearly 600 del­eg­ates will we be awar­ded on that Tues­day, nearly half of the 1,237 needed to se­cure the nom­in­a­tion, but party rules pro­hib­it states vot­ing be­fore March 15 from dis­trib­ut­ing del­eg­ates “win­ner-take-all.” Vir­gin­ia’s 49 del­eg­ates will be di­vided up ac­cord­ing to the win­ner of the vote in each of the state’s 11 con­gres­sion­al dis­tricts.

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