He kicked off the rally with a somber tone, asking for a moment of silence in memory of the 14 people killed earlier Wednesday in a mass shooting in San Bernardino, Calif.
“This is when we really appreciate our police and our law enforcement,” Trump said, before people began bowing their heads in silence.
From there, the hard-charging mogul launched into an array of invective against his primary election opponents, Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton and anyone else who has criticized his positions in recent weeks.
In response to the African American church leaders who ultimately decided not to endorse him earlier this week, Trump invited a small group of black pastors who do support him on stage.
Rev. Steve Parsons, a pastor in Richmond, called Trump a strong leader “who don’t take anybody’s mess.”
“In my opinion? He’s the only one who can beat Hillary Clinton,” Parson said, to cheers.
The loudest applause came whenever Trump mentioned his plans to deal with illegal immigration – a controversial subject in Prince William County that was highlighted by immigration activists who showed up to the rally chanting “Dump Trump! Dump Trump.”
After asking local police to remove those protesters, Trump reiterated his plans for building a wall across the U.S.-Mexico border.
“We’re gonna need about 1,000 miles” of wall on the border, Trump said.
That message – along with Trump’s assertions that he’d “bomb the hell out of” ISIS, get tough with China and wipe the floor with Clinton in the general election – resonated with the people in the audience who were already riding high on the news earlier Wednesday that yet-another poll showed Trump as leader of the Republican pack.
“That’s where the leadership comes in,” said D.B. Bailey, who lives in Gainesville, Va., and said his frustrations over illegal immigration were what prompted him to support Trump.
Evan Rozecki, who lives in Springfield, also called Trump’s stance on illegal immigration a primary reason for attending the rally. He showed up wearing a T-shirt that read “Hillary for Prison 2016.”
“My high school was a very good high school when I was there,” said, Rozecki, 33, complaining about an influx of Central American immigrants to his old neighborhood.
Trump’s speech was at times rambling, and the crowd lost momentum when he boasted of the success behind the TV show "The Apprentice," his plan for a hotel at the Old Post Office building in Washington or the sales of his book, “The Art of the Deal.”
Then came the time for questions and 9-year-old James “Cooper” Skinner served up a soft one.
“What will the wall be made of?” the boy asked, about the plan to stem illegal immigration.
Delighted, Trump invited the kid up on stage.
He then lifted him up and kissed the child on the cheek, before launching into a developer’s lecture of how it should be made of concrete, rebar and “nice, heavy foundations.”