On the eve of the primaries there, Donald Trump is also coming to New Hampshire. It’s his first big appearance after his acquittal in the Senate.
Unquestioning loyalty: Trump supporters at the stadium in Manchester, New Hampshire Photo: reuters
On the eve of the New Hampshire primaries, Donald Trump flies in for a few hours. While the other party’s presidential candidates pitch their ideas and programs for every vote, he makes fun of the Democratic primary campaign in his long speech. "Vote for the weakest of them," he advises thousands of supporters for Tuesday’s primaries. Adding, "But I don’t even know who that should be, I think they’re all weak." The crowd chants, "Four more years," and waves flags.
Trump’s name will also be on the ballot in New Hampshire on Tuesday – as it will be in the following primaries in the rest of the US. But he is not even bothering to promote a program. Perhaps because he is running without serious competition in his own party. Maybe because he’s sure that the current economic data will do his thing.
In the New Hampshire appearance, he is doing his best to steal the show from the Democrats. He lashes out at the other party as if it were a bunch of slobs and good-for-nothings – with no competence, no experience, no base. "They’re radical, left-wing and total failures," Trump says of the Democrats. His own Republican Party, on the other hand, he praises as the "party of American workers, American families, and the American dream."
It is Trump’s first campaign appearance after the acquittal by the Republican majority in the US Senate. He could have used the opportunity to say a few thoughtful words about it. He could have reflected on his own actions toward Ukraine. Or he could have appreciated the U.S. Constitution, which provides for impeachment if dignitaries are suspected.
"Lock her up!" chants against Nancy Pelosi.
Yet Trump does nothing of the sort. Rather, he has his critics booed and wished in jail. He has been impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives – and he will go down in the history books as the third U.S. president to be impeached. But he shows nothing but triumphalism over his acquittal and contempt for those who instigated the proceedings.
The leader of the House of Representatives, the Democrat who ranks third in the hierarchy at the top of the U.S., Trump reduces to a first name in Manchester as if she were a child. When he murmurs "Nancy" into the arena, his base takes it as a call to shout a campaign slogan they already chanted four years ago against another political rival – also a woman: "Lock her up!" Back then it was directed against Hillary Clinton, today against Nancy Pelosi.
Trump also has one man booed in Manchester. It’s Mitt Romney, the only Republican who dared to vote against him in the Senate.
Some of Trump’s supporters in New Hampshire have been camped outside the arena for two days to make sure they get a seat inside. When the Secret Service closed the doors Monday night because the arena was full, several thousand people remained outside. They stand between plastic waste and political banners that the fans were not allowed to take through the security checks.
Two banners hang in the arena. "Promises made" – "Promises kept" are emblazoned on them. The U.S. president presents it as if everything has gotten better under him: Unemployment down, poverty down, stock market gains up. In fact, much of this development is a continuation of economic trends that the previous administration initiated with massive stimulus programs after the financial crisis.
A large screen has been set up in the square in front of the arena. But in the freezing cold, many don’t wait until the end of the nearly hour-long speech. People under red caps reading "Keep America Great" and in fantasy uniforms in the colors of the national flag move to pubs in downtown Manchester.