US President Trump, who lost New Hampshire by the slimmest of margins in 2016, will kick off his bid to flip the state into his column Thursday.Supporters and protesters continued to arrive in Manchester, New Hampshire Thursday ahead of a rally featuring President Donald Trump.
Air Force One will touch down this evening, and at 7 p.m., he’s scheduled to take the stage at a packed SNHU Arena in downtown Manchester for his first Granite State campaign event since Election Eve and only his second visit to the state as president. President Trump lost this state in 2016 by fewer than 3,000 votes, a slim 0.4% margin of votes cast.
Now, the GOP hopes they can flip the state next year, and the Republican National Committee says it has already recruited over 300 volunteers here.
People have been waiting outside the venue since Tuesday. Police said as many as 11,000 people were expected for the “Keep America Great” rally, slated to begin at 7 p.m. at Southern New Hampshire University Arena, marking what the Trump campaign said will be its first big step in ensuring what it couldn’t do in 2016: Flip the Granite State red.
“I’ve watched the president’s accomplishments, I looked past the buzz and the fake news, and I am here to support him always,” said Jennifer Axon, of East Hampton, Massachusetts, who arrived Wendesday. Darlene Weeks was also in line more than 24 hours before the president was expected to take the stage.
“I love Trump,” said Weeks. “I just want to see him. I don’t care if I had to sleep out here for two weeks.”
Trump campaign national press secretary Kaliegh McEnany said that, Trump will focus on the economy and point to the fact that since he has been in office, 19,700 jobs – including 1,700 manufacturing jobs — have been created in New Hampshire.
“The economy is soaring, it’s unstoppable, but it’s also reversible should socialist Democrats take over,” she said in an interview.
Losing New Hampshire in 2016 has appeared to be a sore spot for the president, however the reelection team said it’s confident he will carry the state in 2020 despite potential indicators otherwise.”New Hampshire is absolutely part of our winning strategy,” Tim Murtaugh, the Trump campaign communications director, told ABC News.
The campaign also hopes to flip New Mexico, Nevada, Minnesota and Oregon.Meanwhile, on the other side, protestors were mobilizing to denounce the president.
“I think he’s bringing the nation down the wrong path,” said Richard Leonard. “Morally, politically, policy-wise.”
“What we know is that 61 percent of Granite Staters think Trump is doing a bad job,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party representative Holly Shulman. “We expect a pretty strong showing tomorrow.”
“We don’t want his hate rhetoric, we don’t want hate action, we don’t like what he has done, what he has said or how he treats people,” former U.S. Rep. Carol Shea-Porter said.”He’s really despicable,” Democratic activist Mary Rauh said.
Manchester Police Chief Carlo Capano said security had been beefed up and that protesters would be kept in a designated area separate from supporters.
“Enjoy your time here, demonstrate, we understand that’s going to happen, just do so peacefully,” Capano said.