A Look Back: Donald Trump’s local road to victory

A Look Back: Donald Trump’s local road to victory

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Some have called it the most surprising upset in American history - billionaire businessman Donald Trump's defeat of Hillary Clinton to take the highest office in November's election.

WMBF News covered the local visits on Trump's unprecedented road to the White House.

"These are great people, amazing people, they love their country," said Donald Trump in Myrtle Beach back in January 2015.

There was no announcement of the presidential run there, but Trump certainly made his presence known at the Tea Party Convention.

Nearly five months later, Trump made the announcement, with plenty to say. He blasted professional politicians as incompetent negotiators who've allowed America to be outmaneuvered by countries such as China.

"We're tired of nice people, not nice people. You know what we're really tired of? Stupid people," Trump said.

In November 2015, Trump made his way back to the Grand Strand, this time, to the Myrtle Beach Convention Center before a crowd of roughly 8,000 people.

The rally was high energy. Even then, Trump focused on the polls.

"In Florida, I guess I'm around 32. Rubio went past Bush. I mean, it's not really hard to do, right," he said.

In his hour-and-20-minute speech, Trump also hit on all the big issues - foreign policy, immigration, jobs and taxes.

"My plan - I'm cutting middle income. I'm cutting taxes, middle class people," Trump said. "We have a problem in this country. It's so unfair."

By February 2016, with the momentum gaining just before the South Carolina primary, Trump headed to Florence.

"We're a debtor nation, we owe $19 trillion. Trillion. No one even knows what the hell trillion means," he said.

His comments on immigration and Muslims drew harsh criticism, especially from his Democratic challengers. Trump would return to the Grand Strand two weeks later, right before the primary, where a WMBF News reporter asked him what he'd do to help locals.

"So many of my friends came to me because I have so many friends down here and they said, 'You've got to do something about I-73,' and I said 'We'll take care of it,'" he said.

Also, Trump spoke about offshore drilling.

"Frankly, if we don't have to do it, I say it's wonderful because there's so much oil right now. It's great, but we don't want to do anything to hurt the coast. But at the same time, I'm a very, very big man for the drilling, so I'm going to take a look at it very carefully. Hopefully, I will make the people from South Carolina very, very proud in a couple of years as president. It's something that's very important to me," he said.

A Trump and Clinton primary win in South Carolina set up their overall nominations and a vicious campaign battle for president.

Trump also responded to the 2005 released recording where he's heard making lewd comments about women. He apologized, calling it locker-room talk. Clinton apologized for using her personal email server.

WMBF News brought viewers extended team coverage of the election, with reporters at the Republican and Democratic watch parties.

The race was too close to call the 11 p.m., newscast on election night  It would be hours later before Trump declared victory, baffling his challengers and becoming the first president without any government or military experience.

Trump and running mate Mike Pence will be sworn into office as president and vice president on Jan. 20. The president-elect selected S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley to become ambassador to the UN.

Haley has said she voted for Trump in November, despite endorsing Marco Rubio in the primary.

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