President Donald Trump arrives to speak at a campaign rally, Thursday, Aug. 15, 2019, in Manchester, N.H. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
President Trump just wanted to “mess with” the Democrats last night by holding a massive rally in Manchester, NH on the eve of the first 2020 primary. And mess with them he did. Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale reported there were 52,559 ticket requests. Of those, 24,732 voters were identified, 17% of whom did not vote in 2016. And, as has become the norm for Trump’s rallies, 25.4% of attendees identified as Democrats.
From the moment he entered the Southern New Hampshire University arena and made his way to the podium, the emotion and yes, the love, from the crowd was visceral. A big part of his appeal is that he returns the admiration. And the President makes it clear with his easy smile, his playful fist pumps, and his genuine emotions, that he is as happy to be there as they are.
He opened up with a report on the crowd size. “We have more in this arena and outside this arena than all of the other candidates, meaning the Democrats, put together and multiplied by five…We have never had an empty seat from the day your future First Lady and I came down the escalator.”
Republican Rapid Response Director Steve Guest asked on Twitter, “How many miles of broken glass would each 2020 Democrat walk over barefoot for their crowds to be just half the size of @realDonaldTrump’s overflow crowd in New Hampshire tonight when it’s 35 degrees out?
The local newspaper, The New Hampshire Union Leader, reported that Trump supporters began staking a place in line outside the SNHU Arena as early as 8 a.m. Sunday. He last appeared in New Hampshire in August when “he set the SNHU Arena attendance record of 11,500, surpassing the crowd of 11,400 at a 2001 Elton John concert.”
Not even the mainstream media could argue with this assessment. Shortly before 11 am on Monday, ABC News’ Jonathan Karl tweeted “Cold rain, snow and lots of Trump supporters. Despite the miserable weather, there are already more people lining up outside the venue of @realDonaldTrump‘s rally tonight than you see at most of the events for the Democratic candidates. Some have been out here all night.”
As he’s done in prior rallies during discussions about illegal immigration, the President read the lyrics of “The Snake,” a song written by civil-rights activist Oscar Brown in 1963. In this story, a woman finds a frozen snake who begs her to take it into her home. She does so and “puts it by the fireplace with a silk blanket, some honey, and some milk.” Later, the snake is “warmed and revived” and the woman hugged it. The snake bites her. As she lays dying, she asks it why it bit her. The snake replies, “Shut up silly woman! You knew damn well I was a snake before you took me in!” The crowd applauded wildly.
He talked about Nancy Pelosi’s “mumbling” behind his back during the SOTU. “Very distracting. Very distracting. I’m speaking, and a woman is mumbling terribly behind me. There was a little anger back there. We’re the ones who should be angry, not them.” The crowd began chanting, “Lock her up!”
He told supporters:
Nine months from now, we are going to retake the House of Representatives, we are going to hold the Senate, and we are going to keep the White House. We have so much more enthusiasm, it’s not even close. They’re all fighting each other. They don’t know what they’re doing; they can’t even count their votes.
The Democratic Party wants to run your health care, but they can’t even run a caucus in Iowa…Actually, I think they’re trying to take it away from Bernie again. They’re doing it to you again, Bernie! They’re doing it to you again.”
(President Trump’s full remarks can be heard in the video below.)
He reprised much of the material covered in last week’s State of the Union address. And the crowd loved him.
Trump wrapped up his remarks earlier than usual and immediately was on his way to Dover Air Force base in Delaware to pay his respects to the two soldiers killed in Afghanistan on Saturday. A man dressed in an Afghan army uniform opened fire with a machine gun killing two and wounding six.