But to the dismay of some Republicans he has often pivoted away from that message in the final week of campaigning to emphasise a hardline crackdown against undocumented immigrants.
Trump has sent thousands of soldiers to the Mexican border, suggested that migrants who throw stones at law enforcement officers should be shot, and made wild claims about the Democrats planning to turn the country into a crime-and-drugs black hole.
Trump’s ultra-loyal white base laps up his colourful style, often cheering and chanting as he makes jaw-dropping insults against opponents and factually erroneous claims.
However, even some Republicans became jittery after a Florida man and ardent Trump supporter was charged with sending homemade bombs to more than a dozen senior Democrats and other high profile opponents of Trump.
Days later, a gunman walked into a Pittsburgh synagogue and shot 11 worshippers dead. He had allegedly lashed out online against Jews he accused of transporting Central American “invaders” into the United States – in language that echoed Trump’s attacks on impoverished migrants coming through Mexico.