Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump tackled negative ads head-on Friday in Colorado Springs, saying he would never mock a person's disability and he wasn't implying a reporter asked him tough questions because she was menstruating.
"They do a commercial like I'm mocking a person with disability, and I'm not. I don't remember this guy," Trump said of a New York Times reporter who has limited movement in one arm. "I'm supposed to remember some guy from 1988."
The commercial, which has been airing in Colorado, shows a clip where Trump references the reporter's work and then holds his arm to the side in a jerky motion with his elbow bent and wrist flexed. The ad then pans to children watching it on TV, and it says "Our children are watching."
Trump said he has put ramps and other ADA-compliant things into his buildings.
"I would never do that," he said, noting Friday was the first time he's shared the story. "No. 1, I have a good heart. No. 2, I'm a smart person."
Trump also said his statement that Fox News' Megyn Kelly had "blood coming out her wherever" was referencing her nose. Corrupt reporters twisted his words, Trump said.
At one point, the crowd began chanting "Lock her up" in reference to Hillary Clinton, a common refrain at his rallies.
Trump said, "you know, I'm beginning to agree with you."
CNN immediately reported that it was a change in his stance. He previously greeted the chants with a comment about the importance of voting in November.
Trump's almost hourlong speech at the Gallogly Event Center on the campus of the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs focused on the political scrum with his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton. For example, he noted that his speech at the Republican National Convention had better television ratings than Clinton's acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention on Thursday.
Trump, who stayed Thursday night at The Mining Exchange in downtown Colorado Springs, said winning Colorado is very important.
"I'm going to be in Colorado a lot because there's no way we shouldn't win this state," he said. "These are great people. Tremendous military, respect for law and order."
The crowd in Gallogly, which has a capacity of 1,500 people, was enthusiastic.
Sharon Adams, 62, appeared giddy after the speech. She watched Trump speak in the main event hall - only because she arrived four hours before the event was scheduled to begin.
"He says it the way it is," said Adams of Colorado Springs. "It was just, like, exhilarating."
"When he came out it was just absolutely crazy," Adams added.
U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colorado Springs, told the crowd there were two reasons to vote for Trump - first the upcoming nominations to the Supreme Court and second because of his running mate.
"Mike Pence is maybe one of the best conservatives in the U.S.," Lamborn said, praising the Indiana governor who served in Congress with him for six years. "He says, like I do, that he's a Christian, he's a conservative and he's a Republican, in that order."
U.S. Senate candidate Darryl Glenn wasn't scheduled to speak, but the crowd chanted his name and he took the stage.
"Are you kidding me? Wow!" Glenn said. "Donald Trump is going to lead us to victory, ladies and gentlemen."
Trump's speech was light on policy, but he did tackle foreign trade and various treaties.
He said Boeing will likely close its plants in Seattle and South Carolina and move to China unless he becomes president. Trump said China forced Boeing to build plants to fill orders and then was going to devalue the currency, so all manufacturing by the plane manufacturer would ship overseas.
"We are dealing with grand masters of currency manipulation," Trump said, noting the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership doesn't include currency manipulation.
Currency manipulation is when a country intentionally devalues its currency so that if someone is trying to sell a product in the country it is then more expensive, effectively adding an immediate tax or tariff because the money in the country is worth less than the country where the product was manufactured.
"We're like a Third-World country," Trump said. "We have rotten airports. You go over to Dubai, you go over to places in China, you go over to places in the Middle East . it's unbelievable what's happened there."
Trump blamed many of America's economic woes on the corruption of contractors.
He said The Gazette's editorial board told him the Veteran's Administration Hospital under construction in Aurora was $1.2 billion over budget.
"I'm building a hotel in Washington and I'm under budget and ahead of schedule," he said. "This is happening all over the country when you build a road, when you build an airport. Some of the richest people in this world are called friends of mine. They're called contractors."
Robby Davidson, 62, and his wife Connie Wood, 66, arrived in Colorado Springs from Hope, Alaska, on Friday morning. Davidson said he is a "100 percent" Trump supporter, and the couple was "ecstatic" when they heard Trump was in town.
After Trump spoke in the overflow area, Davidson had a big smile on his face.
"It was pretty cool. We waited outside a long time," he said.
People lined up at 9 a.m. for Trump's speech, which was scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. but started closer to 3 p.m.
Trump supporters waited on the sidewalk outside the Mining Exchange hotel for a glimpse of the candidate. One man who declined to identify himself carried a copy of Playboy from 1990 that featured Trump on the cover; he sought to have the magazine autographed by Trump, although it appears he was unsuccessful.
A gathering of perhaps two dozen people about 1 p.m. grew slowly to more than 100 over the next hour. During most of the time, the crowd was quiet, patient and respectful. One Bernie Sanders supporter occasionally held up a small, handmade "Dump Trump, Feel the Bern" sign but was friendly and chatty with the Trump supporters.
Trump's departure from the hotel became a drawn-out affair, however.
Police vehicles and a pair of unmarked SUVs that had been stationed in front of the hotel on Pikes Peak Avenue were moved about 12:30 p.m. to an alley south of the building - fueling the expectation that Trump would leave soon after. The crowd slowly filtered to the entrance of the alley in anticipation, had a long wait, often under a strong sun.
Colorado Springs police blocked the southbound lanes of Nevada Avenue on the hotel's east side, expecting a quick exit by Trump's motorcade. However, police temporarily removed the barriers around 2 p.m. and allowed traffic to resume for several minutes.
Finally, with both lanes of Nevada blocked, Trump's motorcade - led by two police SUVs and then a half-dozen unmarked SUVs - pulled out of the alley about 2:30 p.m.
The motorcade whisked past the crowd in a matter of seconds, but with no glimpse of Trump. Several crowd members cheered, waved and took cellphone photos and videos. One woman repeatedly yelled obscenities as the vehicles drove away.
Susie and Wayne Walther are Trump supporters who were visiting the Springs from Anderson, S.C., and were staying at the Mining Exchange. They didn't know they'd be sharing the hotel with Trump.
"We were excited to know that he would be here," Susie Walther said.
The Walthers were among the crowd that waited patiently for a glimpse of Trump. Finally, they saw the string of SUVs that pulled away, but that was about it.
"It was quick, but it was something we'll never experience again," Susie Walther said. "We can say that we were here and saw what happened."
Wayne Walther, however, was a little disappointed.
"I've stood out in front of people before and I would have liked to have had a little bit of action," Wayne said. "Like, the person we're cheering for or against open the window, go slow and say 'hey' and things like that."
At UCCS, Zach Rose and his father, Roger Rose, didn't take chances. They were in line early, donned in Trump T-shirts, to get into the event.
"You want to lay it out? Our country is $20 trillion in debt, all right? And we have a uniparty system, the Republicrats and no matter what they do all they do is run us into debt, all right?" Roger Rose said. "I'm hoping that Trump as an unknown factor will actually cut federal spending. He is a businessman. He actually has spent less than any other candidate. He actually looks good."
Zach Rose said his mother, who also supports Trump, grew up in Mexico City.
"Admittedly Trump isn't very PC (politically correct), but it's proven that people who are PC are more likely to lie," he said. "I don't think he's so much trying to race bait and get things divided. I think he's just trying to say things how they are."
Gazette Reporters Rich Laden, Jakob Rodgers and Matt Steiner contributed to this report.