ORLANDO, Fla. — A crowd gathered to rally in support of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump raised their right hands and engaged in a swearing with Trump without foreknowing what they were about to pledge.
“Let’s do a pledge. Who likes me in this room?” Trump the crowd during a Saturday rally in Orlando. “I’ve never done this before. Can I have a pledge? A swearing? Raise your right hand.”
As hands went up across the room, he led the crowd in the pledge piece-by-piece.
“I do solemnly swear,” those with their hands raised repeated, “that I, no matter how I feel, no matter what the conditions, if there are hurricanes or whatever…”
“[W]ill vote on or before the 12th for Donald J. Trump for president,” Trump then had those gathered repeat.
The crowd then broke into cheers, waving their “The Silent Majority Stands With Trump” signs.
“Don’t forget you all raised your hands. You swore. Bad things happen if you don’t live up to what you just did,” Trump threatened.
Some saw the incident as peculiar, “creepy” and “chilling” that voters would so easily pledge their allegiance to a candidate before even knowing what they were about to swear. Jenna Johnson with the Washington Post Tweeted that one protester stood outside of the event calling out to attendees, “It’s not too late to give up on Trump! Save your soul!”
Just prior to the pledge, Trump spoke about his plans regarding the torture of captured terrorists, seeking middle ground after he told reporters Friday that if elected president, he would not order the military to violate U.S. or international laws.
He had stated just recently that he believed the country should “go a lot further” than waterboarding suspected terrorists, prompting CIA Director Michael Hayden to state that the U.S. military would not follow any illegal orders issued by Trump.
“We’re going to stay within the laws. But you know what we’re going to do? We’re going to have those laws broadened because we’re playing with two sets of rules: their rules and our rules,” he said on Saturday. “We have to obey the laws, but do you think ISIS is obeying the laws?”
Florida’s Republican primary is set for March 15, and both Donald Trump and Ted Cruz are seeking to seize the win from Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.