FT MYERS, Fla.—Echoes of "CNN sucks" could be heard reverberating throughout the Hertz Arena in Southern Florida Wednesday evening as some 8,000 people turned out to see President Donald Trump rally for Republican candidates, including Rep. Ron DeSantis (R., Fla.), who is locked in an increasingly tight race to become the state's next governor.
Trump opened the rally, part of several stops the president will be making to galvanize Republican voters ahead of Election Day, with a heartfelt denunciation of the recent deadly attack on a Pittsburgh synagogue that left 11 Jewish worshipers dead.
Condemning the "evil, anti-Semitic" attack, Trump emphasized his "unbreakable solidarity with the Jewish people," a comment that received rousing applause from those in attendance, many of whom were decked out in Trump's signature "Make America Great Again" hats.
Trump slammed Democrats in Congress and across the country for what he described as their efforts to stall his agenda, including domestically and abroad.
Chiding the "far left media"—which elicited another round of "CNN sucks" from the crowd"—Trump blamed the television and print media for "pushing people apart."
"This is the division right here," Trump said, pointing to the rows of television and newspaper reporters in attendance to cover the event. They "spread terrible lies and stories about the Trump administration."
"The fake news is in fact the enemy of the people," Trump said.
When introducing DeSantis, Trump lashed out at his opponent, Andrew Gillum, who the president warned would "take a wrecking ball" to the Florida economy.
DeSantis also offered up criticism of his rival to massive applause from those in attendance.
"I'm proud to say I'm the only one who's worn the uniform and served in our military," DeSantis, a veteran, told the crowd.
"I ain't gonna raise your taxes … [and] I'm the only guy who can credibly say I'm not under investigation" for corruption, DeSantis said, referring to an ongoing investigation into allegations Gillum, as Tallahassee mayor, took cushy trips to Costa Rica and New York.
"Lock him up! Lock him up!" the crowd responded to DeSantis' comments.
"As governor, I will never allow Florida to be a sanctuary state," DeSantis said to another loud round of applause.
Gillum, on the other hand, has advocated for the dismantling of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement bureau, or ICE.
Trump also had kind words for Florida Republican Gov. Rick Scott, who is running to unseat incumbent Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson.
Trump referred to Scott as a talented politician and slammed Nelson, who also has faced accusations of corruption.
Scott, when he took the stage, vowed to continue creating jobs in Florida, as well as cut taxes for all.
Trump arrived in south Florida Wednesday evening, where DeSantis and others greeted him at the airport.
Speaking to reporters on his way to the rally, Trump praised both Scott and DeSantis.
"I'm going to one of my favorite places in the world—Florida—to speak on behalf of, hopefully, Governor DeSantis who's running a very good campaign," Trump said. "They've got it going now. And also, as you know, Rick Scott, who's been a great governor and hopefully he'll be your new senator."
A few dozen protestors were spotted at the rally standing behind a police line.
As he riled up the crowd, Trump touted his recent effort to move the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Israel's capital city.
Trump also touted the "unprecedented action" he has taken against Iran, another line that received loud cheers.