An exuberant Donald Trump predicted Monday night that he would be victorious at this week’s CNN Republican presidential debate.
“We have a big night tomorrow night,” Trump said, as he rallied a raucous crowd at the Westgate Resort & Casino on the Vegas strip. “It’s gonna be good.”
Trump also predicted that he would be a favorite punching bag on stage.
“They’re all coming after me,” he said. “This will not be an evening in paradise for me, do we agree?”
Trump and 12 other Republican White House hopefuls are preparing to take the debate stage here in Las Vegas Tuesday night, for the final GOP showdown of the year.
Speaking to thousands gathered inside a hotel ballroom, Trump recalled his campaign announcement speech in June.
“Remember the famous escalator ride?” he said, referring to his entrance into the lobby of Trump Tower in Manhattan.
Since launching his campaign, Trump said, “So many good things happened.”
The CNN hosted debate comes as Trump leads in national polls. A Monmouth University survey released Monday showed Trump on top with 41% of support from Republican and Republican-leaning voters – a new record for the New York business magnate.
But his first-place standing in Iowa has hit a rough patch, with Texas Sen. Ted Cruz surpassing him for the first time in some polls.
Trump on Monday highlighted his national numbers and downplayed Cruz’s rise in Iowa, in part by blaming the “dishonest” media.
“It’s a horrible paper,” Trump said about the Des Moines Register, which released a poll over the weekend showing Trump 10 points behind Cruz in Iowa, 31% to 21%.
Trump’s characteristically colorful and bombastic speech was interrupted multiple times by protesters – not an unusual occurrence at Trump rallies these days – including some people holding “Dump Trump” signs.
Trump vowed to crack down on illegal immigration, build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, and build a powerful military as president.
“We’re going to make our military so strong, so powerful, so incredible, we are never going to have to use it,” Trump said. “Together, we’re gonna be the best!”