Story highlights

Donald Trump say's he's 'Second Amendment 100%'

The Sarasota, Florida rally came just hours after a shooting at a Colorado Planned Parenthood clinic that killed three people

Sarasota, Florida CNN —  

Donald Trump showed a more diplomatic side Saturday as a protestor was ejected from a spirited rally he held in Florida, where he otherwise minced no words in going after his opponents.

Speaking in Sarasota, Florida, the Republican presidential candidate was interrupted briefly by a protestor who shouted during the opening moments of his remarks. The mogul looked on calmly from the podium as security escorted the protesters out.

“Be nice to the person,” Trump told the crowd. “Don’t hurt the person. Please nicely escort the person out.”

The calm handling of the disruption was a change from last Saturday’s campaign rally in Alabama, where a Black Lives Matter protestor was punched and kicked repeatedly by audience members when he interrupted the rally. After the incident, Trump suggested the man “should have been roughed up.”

Trump himself noted the change of tone on Saturday.

“You see how diplomatic I’ve become?” he said as the crowd booed the woman being escorted out of the arena and chanted “get them out!” along with “Trump! Trump!”

The whole disturbance took about three minutes to settle down.

Trump stuck mostly to his stump speech to the assembled thousands, who cheered, jeered and chanted enthusiastically as Trump revved them up. As well as Trump’s nearly hour long address, the crowd heard from a variety of colorful Trump supporters before he spoke, and children were given helicopter rides outside. There was even an elephant with the candidate’s name and his trademark slogan – “Make America Great Again” – chalked on her side.

And Trump found ways to tailor his message to the room. He especially went after Florida’s home-state politicians in the GOP primary, getting a roar from the crowd when he mentioned leading in the polls in the state despite Sen. Marco Rubio and former Gov. Jeb Bush both running.

He used his common attack lines against the two, including Rubio being “so weak on illegal immigration” and having “the worst attendance record in the United States Senate.”

Rubio has missed the most votes this year of any of the senators running for president, though he says he makes the ones that matter. He has said running for president means missing a few votes.

Trump also noted that Rubio missed classified briefings about the Paris terror attacks just after they happened, though the Florida Republican did attend an Intelligence Committee briefing he has access to as a member that his campaign said is better than the information that would have been in the other briefings.

“Rubio didn’t go, he went to a fundraiser,” Trump said as the crowd booed. “You tell me, is that right?”

Trump also went after Bush for supporting Common Core. Trump noted he attacks the “low energy” Bush less these days.

“I don’t even mention him anymore,” Trump said. “You know I hit him hard at the beginning. You know, because I think Bush, whether you like Bush or not, you would think he has an advantage because he’s from a family that’s been involved.”

Trump surmised he will hold his lead in the Sunshine State.

“I think it’s going to be an easy campaign, Florida, because I’m leading by a lot already, and Bush is down in the tubes, and Rubio is a little higher than Bush,” Trump said. “If he doesn’t even have the courtesy to go and sit in Washington and represent the people of Florida there’s no way he’s going to beat me in an election in Florida.”

’100%’ Second Amendment

The Saturday interruption from a protestor came as Trump also touted his opposition to gun control, the day after a shooting rampage outside a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado killed three people.

Donald Trump: Mental health, not gun problem

Trump didn’t mention the episode, in which one officer and two civilians were killed. But the mogul did cite the recent Paris attacks, in which more than 130 people died.

“If they would have had the guns, they wouldn’t have had the carnage they had,” Trump said. “I just want to say upfront, right now, Second Amendment 100%.”

Embracing controversy

Trump’s event was emblematic of his campaign so far. The Sarasota Fairgrounds estimated 4,500 people attended the event inside the arena, and thousands more were lined up outside the venue, some of whom he spoke with after he landed his helicopter and before he took off.

While those outside listened to audio of his speech, children were given helicopter rides.

The billionaire businessman’s Thanksgiving weekend event also came amid mounting criticism over his apparent taunting of a New York Times reporter’s physical appearance. Trump has denied mocking the scribe’s physical disability. The New York Times earlier in the week issued a statement condemning Trump, while the mogul maintains it’s the news outlet that should be saying sorry.

Trump on Saturday said he meant no harm, and continued to stress he did not intentionally mock the reporter.

“I don’t knock people that have problems, believe me,” Trump said. “I would never mock a person that has difficulties.”

Trump then heaped scorn on The New York Times. He cited what he called the news organization’s business woes.

“Who else is going to take on The New York Times? I don’t care. … They’ll probably be out of business pretty soon.”

He also accused the reporter, Serge Kovaleski, of abusing his disability to gain fame.

“The problem is, he’s using what he’s got to such a horrible degree, I think it’s disgraceful,” Trump said, saying The New York Times should apologize to him.

Kovaleski has said he and Trump were on a first-name basis for years and the mogul knows who he is. Trump insists he does not know Kovaleski.

It’s only the latest brouhaha in a campaign filled with taunts and insults of political opponents, media critics and others.

Trump didn’t back down from recent suggestions that some Muslims in America should be watched by federal authorities. And he broadened his criticism.

“By the way, everybody admits that worldwide, Muslims were absolutely going wild” over 9/11 – a comment that drew quick scorn and rebuke online. Later in the rally Trump referred to the President as Barack Hussein Obama – an accurate description of his full name, but one often used by critics to question his legitimacy as commander-in-chief.

Though before the Sarasota rally Trump showed a softer side, at least briefly. After his helicopter landed, Trump called for some children out of the audience to go up in it, a stunt he pulled in Iowa this summer as well.

“I can call her girl right?” Trump said speaking to the parents of a young child at the rally. “Today we have to be so politically correct.”

Trump’s campaign on Saturday also announced the endorsement of Kathryn “Kat” Gates-Skipper, the first female Marine in combat operations.

Women in combat: More than a dozen nations already doing it