7/17/15, "Trump continues straightforward campaigning in front of overflow Laconia crowd," Concord Monitor, Jack Rooney
|Laconia, NH, 7/16/15, Monitor photos|
"In front of an overflow crowd in Laconia on Thursday evening, Donald Trump continued to unapologetically tout his deal-making ability, calling the recent nuclear agreement with Iran “a disaster.” And after filing his personal financial disclosure with the Federal Election Commission earlier this week, he was quick to highlight his net worth and self-funded campaign.
“So Jeb Bush raised $100 million,” Trump said, as the crowd booed the name of the former Florida governor and fellow Republican candidate. “He’s totally in favor of Common Core, he’s totally weak on immigration. The last thing we need is another Bush. So what does 100 million mean? A hundred million means he’s doing favors for so many people. It means lobbyists, it means special interests, it means donors.”
“Now Hillary raised $46 million – a lot of money,” he said, targeting the Democratic candidate. “The good news is how much do I have? Ten billion.”
Trump took the stage about 6:30 p.m., as the sun began to set over Lake Winnipesaukee, and he was just heating up. Literally.
The air conditioner and two ceiling fans in the Weirs Community Center were no match for the heat generated by the crowd that campaign officials estimated at 500 inside the building, with at least another 500 outside, where speakers were set up so the overflow crowd could hear Trump’s speech and question-and-answer session. Some in the audience used Trump bumper stickers and pamphlets as fans while volunteers passed out water bottles, and midway through his remarks, Trump matted his forehead with a handkerchief.
“It’s hot in here,” he said, wiping the sweat from his face. “You know, they actually have air conditioning, but it wasn’t meant for this. But I’m in New Hampshire, and I love New Hampshire.”
In his roughly 20-minute speech, Trump also reiterated his tough stance on illegal immigration, which spawned recent controversy and led to a number of companies severing ties with the entrepreneur and former reality TV star.
“And just so you know, I’ve been proven right over the last two weeks,” Trump said of his views on immigration. “I took a lot of abuse two weeks ago. Now they’re all saying, ‘Trump was right.’ I’m getting calls from people that were really critical. Now everybody is saying I was right.”
“And I’m for immigration,” he continued. “We all are. We’re all sort of there at one point, whether it’s our parents. But when people come in illegally? No way, it’s not going to happen.”
Trump again said he has an excellent relationship with Mexico, but criticized American leaders for not being able to effectively negotiate with other countries like Mexico and China.
“I love Mexico. I love the Mexican people,” he said. “The problem with Mexico is that their leaders and their negotiators are much smarter and sharper and more cunning than ours. And we can’t have that. I respect them. I respect China. I’d make a fortune with China and Mexico.”
“We need leadership that’s smart,” he continued. “We have to bring back our jobs, we have to bring back our manufacturing from many countries. We don’t make any good deals. We have people that are there for political reasons. They’re there because they made contributions.”
After his remarks, Trump took questions from the audience for another 15 minutes on topics including how he would better take care of military veterans and strengthen the armed forces, how he would help small businesses and how to solve crisis situations in urban America.
Trump, who sits in first place in the crowded Republican field according to some recent national polls, exited the building in the rear, where the overflow crowd eagerly awaited him. Patty Selig of Laconia was part of that crowd, and said Trump’s charisma and straightforward style appeal to her, and other New Hampshire voters.
“What he said, people are thinking, and people are afraid to say it,” Selig said of Trump’s immigration views. “A lot of the other candidates were afraid to say it. And other Republican candidates are crucifying him because of what he said. But now, listening, it’s coming around and he brought it to the forefront. People are talking about it now, and they weren’t before, it was kind of pushed under the carpet. I think that’s important.”
Selig’s friend, Phyllis Veazley, also of Laconia, said hearing Trump speak in person gave a much different perspective than the television clips that dominated much of the national media following Trump’s initial immigration remarks. That perspective, Selig said, is one of the best and unique parts about New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary.
“The beauty of living in New Hampshire during the primary and when the candidates are coming is in what other state do you have the ability to shake hands and talk with them and meet them?” Selig said. “It’s very, very important. It really is. And it gives you a chance to find out what they stand for, what their platforms are, and how do they feel about this country? It’s very, very important.”
The event was Trump’s second campaign stop in New Hampshire since officially declaring his candidacy June 16, and his first Granite State appearance since June 17. Trump is scheduled to appear in Arkansas on Friday, Iowa on Saturday and South Carolina on Tuesday."
Images above by Concord Monitor staff.
Images above by Concord Monitor staff.