Trump opens 2024 run, says he’s ‘more committed’ than ever
|Published: 01-28-2023 11:52 PM
SALEM, N.H. — Donald Trump kicked off his White House bid in New Hampshire, where he maintained that he won the 2020 election and framed Joe Biden’s bid to move the first presidential primary out of the state as the president taking “revenge” for losing “badly” there three years ago.
Trump, former president and the keynote speaker at the Republican State Committee meeting held at the high school in Salem on Saturday, vowed to a friendly crowd of supporters that he would ensure New Hampshire keeps its “first-in-the-nation” primary status should he return to the White House.
“You have it,” Trump said. “You’re first, and you’re going to remain first.”
Trump said he won the Republican presidential primary twice in New Hampshire — and believes he “also won two general elections” — and stated that Biden’s fifth-place finish there in the 2020 Democratic primary was influencing the president’s bid to change the 2024 voting calendar.
“Now he’s taking revenge (on) the voters of your state, by clearly and disgracefully trashing this beloved political tradition,” Trump said. “And I hope you’re going to remember that during the general election.”
The Democratic National Committee voted to place New Hampshire second on the 2024 presidential primary calendar, behind South Carolina and on the same day as Nevada, a move that drew opposition from the state’s Republican Gov. Chris Sununu and local Democrats.
Sununu, who is also a possible candidate to challenge Biden for president, said last week that New Hampshire plans to vote first “no matter what,” despite penalties the national Democratic Party said states could face for refusing to comply, USA Today reported.
The New Hampshire Republican Party has already decided to keep the state first in the GOP primary lineup, according to Matt Mowers, former N.H. GOP executive director and a senior White House adviser to Trump, who said that lineup has “served our country really well.”
States that vote early have more say and influence than those that vote later in the process.
“I think it’s a shame that Joe Biden’s bringing boss-style politics here,” Mowers said. “He’s rewarding states that supported him, where all he had to do was get one endorsement. But he’s neglecting the state that has arguably the most open political process in the country.”
Trump spoke for just under an hour at Saturday’s meeting, where he laid out his early presidential agenda, which included mainly a series of plans to continue what he started in his four years as president and undo measures Biden has taken since defeating him in 2020, describing his time in office as a colossal failure.
“It’s strange, but I think of the United States — every day is April Fool’s Day,” Trump said.
Trump said he would crack down on illegal immigration by re-securing the border between Mexico and the United States, replace Chinese imports of essential goods with American-made products and boost the economy by lowering taxes and ending “Joe Biden’s war on American energy.”
He also said he would impose congressional term limits, institute a lifetime ban on lobbying by former members of Congress, keep America out of “foolish foreign wars” and defend election integrity, which he suggested was impacted by early mail-in voting that was introduced during the pandemic.
Trump also fell back on familiar refrains, leveling insults at political rivals, referring to President Biden as “Brandon” and the former House speaker as “Crazy Nancy Pelosi.”
He referred to the gathered media as “fake news” and brought up the laptop controversy involving the president’s son, Hunter Biden, saying that the FBI covered up massive corruption revealed on the computer by telling the media it was Russian disinformation.
He also suggested that crime was on the rise because of calls for defunding the police, quipping that “you go to New York. No one gets prosecuted. I’m the only guy they go after.”
Judging from the interest, Trump still has a strong presence with the Republican Party, despite his efforts to incite an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol following his election defeat, which is still being investigated by the Jan. 6 committee, and a laundry list of other criminal accusations lodged against him since his presidency.
A New Hampshire GOP representative said Saturday’s turnout was the largest for an annual meeting, at roughly 90%, and hundreds of pro-Trump supporters, including a contingent of Proud Boys, a far-right, neo-fascist group, gathered in the Salem High School parking lot. The annual meeting was an invite-only event.
Outgoing N.H. GOP Chair Stephen Stepanek, whom Trump named as senior adviser to his campaign, led “USA” chants after the former president concluded his remarks, and a state committeewoman was singled out for her support by Trump, after she shouted, “We love you,” while he was talking.
However, while Trump boasted that he was far ahead in the polls, the latest poll from the University of New Hampshire places him 12 points behind another Republican presidential hopeful, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, in the Granite State.
Support for DeSantis, who paid to ship migrants to sanctuary states like Massachusetts, was also evident at the New Hampshire GOP committee meeting, where his cardboard cutout was on display and tables were set up for him.