Possibly inspired by being in a venue on the Las Vegas Strip, Republican presidential contender Donald Trump put on a show during an hourlong, free-wheeling speech.
Bringing audience members up to the stage to address the crowd that filled about 1,620 seats in the Treasure Island casino theater that is normally reserved for acrobatic Cirque du Soleil productions, taking aim at some of his most favorite targets, and indulging in more than a bit of bombast, Trump seemed right at home in Vegas.
The speech – which included a large dose of media bashing, the suggestion that Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl should have been executed for leaving his post in Afghanistan and the claim that he was behind Rep. Kevin McCarthy's decision to drop out of the race for House speaker – was punctuated by shouts of support from the crowd.
At one point, in a moment that appeared to be impromptu, Trump brought a supporter in the audience to the stage who declared she is Hispanic and voting for Trump. Myriam Witcher, 35, of Las Vegas, waved an issue of People magazine with Trump and his family on its cover, asking him to sign it.
Afterward the Colombian immigrant, who noted she came to the United States legally, called Trump her "No. 1 person in the United States."
As for Thursday’s news about the race for House Speaker, Trump asked the crowd, "You know, Kevin McCarthy is out. You know that, right? And they're giving me a lot of credit for that because I said you really need somebody very, very tough and very smart. ... We need smart, we need tough, we need the whole package."
Trump didn't identify who had given him credit for McCarthy dropping out.
About Bergdahl, Trump said, “We're tired of Sgt. Bergdahl, who's a traitor, a no-good traitor, who should have been executed."
"Thirty years ago," Trump added, "he would have been shot."
Bergdahl was charged in March with desertion and misbehavior before the enemy. The Army conducted a hearing on his case earlier this month. His attorney, Eugene Fidell, said in a statement that Trump "has become a broken record on this subject."
Bergdahl has been accused of leaving his post in southeastern Afghanistan in June 2009. He was held prisoner by the Taliban for five years, then exchanged for five Taliban commanders being held by the U.S.Trump has long railed against the deal.
"If he took the time to study what actually emerged at the preliminary hearing he would be singing a different tune," Fidell said.
Trump has, in the past, pantomimed a firing squad, Fidell said.
Based on reporting by the Associated Press.