Despite four indictments to his name and blowing off both Republican presidential debates, former President Donald Trump’s first event in the Granite State in two months confirmed what many already knew: The New Hampshire GOP is still Trump Country.
The venue for the former president’s remarks — Kingswood Arts Center in Wolfeboro — was filled beyond capacity with an estimated 1,500 attendees, according to MAGA, Inc. spokesperson Karoline Leavitt. Hundreds more Trump supporters milled around outside. And after an over two-minute standing ovation at the start, Trump threw down on President Joe Biden.
“Joe Biden betrayed Israel. As president, I will once again stand strongly with the state of Israel,” Trump said.
“The atrocities we are witnessing in Israel would never have happened if I was president,” Trump told the crowd, arguing that Biden’s weakness — both as president and on policy — have provoked violence abroad.
Hamas attacked Israel because of “our country’s perceived weakness with an incompetent and corrupt leader, Joe Biden, who’s laughed at all over the world,” Trump said.
“We are in grave danger of World War III, and we have a man who can’t even walk off a stage, can’t put two sentences together. But he’s negotiating with President Xi of China?”
According to GOP strategist Pat Griffin, it’s a powerful argument.
“Every day Joe Biden is president, he makes Donald Trump look muscular. That’s no testimony to Trump’s fitness to be commander in chief, just a clear indication of Biden’s frail and inexcusable decrepitude. Like Hillary Clinton before him, Biden continues to make himself an unacceptable alternative to a charlatan like Trump.”
It didn’t help that by the time Trump took the stage at noon, Biden had already “called a lid” — announced no public appearances for the rest of the day, even as war raged in Israel and news broke of at least 11 dead Americans at the hands of Hamas.
“Think what our country would have been like if the election had not been rigged and stolen. Israel would not now be under attack — zero chance. Ukraine would not be under attack by Russia — zero chance…. We would have no hostile relationship with North Korea…. We would have left Afghanistan with dignity, strength, and power,” Trump said.
And attendees couldn’t have agreed more. “One hundred percent because it’s true. It’s a fact, you see it,” said Kimmy of Tuftonboro, N.H., about Trump’s comments regarding Biden’s fitness to serve. “Every time he speaks, how can you not see it?”
“I agree,” Kenneth of Ossipee, N.H., said. “I don’t know what this guy’s doing. Biden is a mess…. He’s got to go.”
During his Wolfeboro speech, the former president discussed a wide range of issues central to Granite Staters, from the cost of living and mortgages to high energy costs, green energy mandates, gas and oil prices, and pipeline access for the state.
“The typical family has lost over $7,400 in annual income with Crooked Joe in the White House. Under President Trump, real family income increased by over $6,000 a year in New Hampshire alone.
“But perhaps no Biden attack on the people of this state has been worse than the socialist calamity known as the Green New Deal,” Trump said, referring to the Inflation Reduction Act, “which has struck New Hampshire with among the highest energy, electricity, and heating costs anywhere in the nation.”
And in a sign of the mood of the New Hampshire GOP, some of Trump’s loudest cheers came when he declared, “Under our administration, gas-powered engines will be allowed, but child sexual mutilation will be banned,” and “By the way, we’re going to terminate the Department of Education.”
A Suffolk University Political Research Center poll last week found that, while Trump’s former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley now stands alone in second place in New Hampshire, the former president is still ahead by 30 points. According to FiveThirtyEight’s updated polling averages, Trump is up 32 points in the state.
That was certainly the mood in the room.
“I support him. I think he was a good president,” Peter Galanis of Wolfeboro, N.H., told NHJournal. “I think he put the country first with border security, tough on crime…. So, yeah, I’m a Trump supporter.”
“He seems to be the only one hitting on what needs to be hit on,” Kenneth of Ossipee told NHJournal. “A lot of the other ones are kind of like bouncing around…. He’s being straightforward, he’s saying it the way it is, he says what he means, he means what he says, he does it. That’s all I got to say.”
“This has been a tremendous state for us,” Trump told the Granite State crowd. “We’re going to win the big primary that’s coming up in an epic landslide.”