Liz Farrell

Farrell: Donald Trump leaves them laughing at Sun City

FILE PHOTO: Donald Trump holds a piece of paper with Sen. Lindsey Graham's phone number on it during Trump's appearance at Sun City Hilton Head.
FILE PHOTO: Donald Trump holds a piece of paper with Sen. Lindsey Graham's phone number on it during Trump's appearance at Sun City Hilton Head.

If you have ever had a desire to text screaming cat emojis to a sitting United States senator, better do so quickly before Sen. Lindsey Graham has his number changed, which, according to his Twitter account, is happening.

Poor Graham.

You have to wonder what those first few moments were like for him after Donald Trump gave away Graham's cellphone number during a campaign stop Tuesday at Sun City Hilton Head.

I know the first weird call he got. It was from an audience member testing it out.

Did Graham look down at his phone, see that unfamiliar number pop up and say, "Ugh. Who the heck? Sorry, friend. Decline"?

And what happened after that? Did his phone blow up with calls from other testers, from the same people, we can assume, who at one point in their lives just had to call 867-5309 to see who would pick up.

"Hello? ... um, is this ... is this Jenny???"


Shortly after Trump announced Graham's number, that audience member shot out of his seat to tell Trump and the rest of us, "It says Lindsey Graham is unavailable!"

First thought upon seeing this man: Who interrupts Donald Trump when he's speaking on a stage? Is this one of the crazies that Sen. John McCain was referring to? Can I fit under this chair if he's armed?

Second thought: Good work, sir.

I was glad for this man's research, because it immediately answered my question, which was "Did Donald Trump seriously just do that?"

Yes, Donald Trump seriously just did. This is what you get when you call Trump a jackass on the day he is to visit your constituents.

Let's call it a lesson learned.

If Trump's presidential campaign thus far were a reality show, "Did Donald Trump Seriously Just Do That?" would be a good title for it. Or, maybe even more appropriately, "Did Donald Trump Seriously Just Say That?"

I would binge watch that show. In fact, I think I already am.

We all are.

After Trump left Pinckney Hall on Tuesday, where he paid a visit to the overflow crowd, I caught up with Joy Vincent, a Sun City resident of two years who was dressed patriotically right down to her blue and white toenails.

She was excited because she caught Trump as he was entering Magnolia Hall and was able to shake his hand.

"Don't wash it!" a friend told her.

Before Trump's visit she found the man merely interesting.

After Trump's visit? She's sold.

"He has the (Christmas tree ornaments) to turn this country around," she told me.

I say "Christmas tree ornaments" because I cannot print the thing she actually said he has.

But other people have also noticed his Christmas tree ornaments. It's what many people like most about him. He says the things they think. He says the things other politicians just don't say.

Larry Della Vecchia, the sweetest 85-year-old I have ever met, immediately covered his mouth with both hands when he heard Vincent.

He was scandalized.

"You can't say (Christmas tree ornaments) to a reporter from the newspaper," he told her.

I assured him I could handle it.

"I'm very glad to have seen him in person," Vincent said. "To hear the full thing of what he had to say and not just a news clip of it."

This was a theme from Trump's speech at Sun City. The media has been distorting his words, he told everyone. I disagree with this, naturally; I think his message has been very clearly received, even if it is in sound bites.

But I do have to agree with Vincent, it is a far different thing to hear all his words together, even though they are kind of just like sound bites strung together.

Say what you will about Trump, but no one can deny that he is entertaining. And refreshing. I love a man without a teleprompter.

"He doesn't have a filter," Vincent said. "I do that. I don't have a filter."

Trump isn't just unfiltered, he's charismatic. He had the crowd in stitches Tuesday. He reflected the truth about what the audience felt, but said it in a way that was funny. It was as if this wasn't simply a presidential election, but rather a very expensive way to try out some bits on the road before his HBO special.

There were the ethnic jokes.

"Our people don't have a clue," he said. "We give steak dinners to the heads of China. I say 'Why are you doing steak dinners for them.' They're ripping us left and right. Just take them to McDonald's and go back to the negotiating table."

And there were the impressions.

Of Lindsey Graham. Of Rick Perry. Of Hillary Clinton. And of Joe Average Politician, the guy who over the years has called Trump begging for campaign contributions.

Wow, Trump does a really good American accent, I thought ... and then I remembered that he is American.

In my defense, I did not know that people with thick New York accents could imitate the rest of us.

"He hit the high notes," Vincent said of Trump's speech, which touched on the recent nuclear agreement with Iran (which he said was mishandled and would've been easy-peasy for him), unemployment (he said it's actually between 19 and 21 percent, which is scary), Social Security, Obamacare and the hot mess that is Veterans Affairs.

Della Vecchia, who served during the Korean War, said he's a little annoyed at Trump for his comments on McCain and his capture in Vietnam. "But it's not enough to change my mind. What I like about Donald ... he tells it like it is. He doesn't defer to people."

"Our country is a laughingstock," he said. "People laugh at us."

He said his favorite presidents over the years have been Ronald Reagan and John F. Kennedy.

"It was horrible what happened to him," he said.

"And I like Abraham Lincoln," he paused, then laughed. "But I don't remember him. I don't go that far back. I'm not that old."

Follow columnist and senior editor Liz Farrell at and

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