BUFFALO, NY — Donald Trump pledged Monday night to win the New York primary and show “Ted Cruz hates New York” — and to go on to win the Republican nomination on the first ballot, without wining and dining delegates to do so.
It was his final rally before New Yorkers head to the polls on Tuesday, and one of his biggest, with 11,400 supporters packing the stands, according to the local police department.
Polls have shown Trump easily defeating his rivals, and he stands to pick up a huge chunk of delegates from a big win in the state. Trump speculated that Cruz could come in last, musing “wouldn’t it be interesting if Cruz came in third?”
And in his final pitch to New Yorkers, he opened with a knock on Cruz’s now-infamous dismissal of “New York values” by reading a written statement on what the attacks on September 11 proved about New York values.
“Every small act of kindness, every great act of courage, those are New York values,” he said.
It was an unusual move for the notoriously unscripted candidate, and it seemed to trip him up — he referred to “7/11” instead of “9/11” while reading his remarks.
Still, the crowd cheered enthusiastically for the candidate, and the rally went off with just one major interruption; a brief protest at the start of Trump’s remarks by about two dozen people chanting “no racist USA!”
Otherwise, the rally went smoothly, with Trump echoing many of the same lines he delivered this weekend and hitting on typical themes of bringing jobs back to the country and making America “win” again.But unlike in some past rallies, this one ended quickly and peacefully. As instructed before the rally, supporters waved their signs over the protesters and chanted “Trump! Trump!” while police pulled dragged the limp protesters out of the rally.
And he again spent a chunk of his speech lambasting the “rigged” delegate system, which he said is “not meant like a guy for me, who’s not taking any money from these special interests.”
This story originally appeared at NBCNews.com.