A former president floated big ideas before a small New Hampshire audience Saturday during the annual Republican Party’s state meeting.
Donald Trump took digs at President Joe Biden and opined Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) would be disloyal if he entered the GOP presidential primary. The 45th president promised to restore border security and change “a woke military that can’t fight or win,” if elected president in 2024.
The New York Post further reported:
Former President Donald Trump plunged back into campaign mode Saturday to kick off his 2024 White House bid, stumping in New Hampshire and South Carolina — where he slung insults at Florida governor Ron DeSantis.
The 76-year-old ex-commander in chief called a potential presidential run by his GOP rival “a great act of disloyalty.”
Trump also took credit for the 44-year-old DeSantis’ initial election, insisting his “political life was over.”
“If he runs, that’s fine. I’m way up in the polls,” Trump told The Associated Press after his South Carolina speech.
“He’s going to have to do what he wants to do, but he may run. I do think it would be a great act of disloyalty because, you know, I got him in. He had no chance. His political life was over.”
Appearing first in New Hampshire, Trump told the audience of Republican party leaders that he is “more angry” at the direction of the country now and “more committed” to taking back the top job than he “ever was.”
The former president also took aim at his successor, President Joe Biden.
“What a pigsty that place was, right?” he said of the garage where classified documents from Biden’s vice presidency were found this month.
He needled Biden for the “massive corruption” seen on Hunter Biden’s laptop before a small crowd of 413 party officials at Salem High School in Salem during the state GOP’s annual meeting.
“We have a president whose son’s laptop from hell … exposes massive corruption,” Trump said in the 55-minute speech.
“Do you think the father was upset?” Trump asked in an aside. “‘What’s on it, son?’ ‘Every crime that you’ve ever committed, pop.’”
The former president said he launched his third White House run “to confront the colossal disasters that Joe Biden is leaving in his wake.”
“What they’re doing is poisoning our country,” he said, citing such ills as lax border security, “a woke military that can’t fight or win,” and “radical left-wing prosecutors” who refuse to put criminals in jail.
“I’m the only one they go after,” he complained, citing the FBI raid of Mar-a-Lago and the tax-fraud charges against the Trump Organization. “Nobody gets prosecuted, they go after me.”
At his second campaign appearance in Columbia, South Carolina, Trump was endorsed by some of the state’s top Republicans, including Gov. Henry McMaster and Sen. Lindsey Graham.
“There are no Trump policies without Donald Trump,” Graham said, taking a veiled shot at the GOP primary challengers waiting in the wings.
“You can talk about his policies, but you cannot do what he did.”
Trump’s 40-minute speech focused not only on the border and the troubled economy, but on hot-button social issues as well.
“We’re going to stop the left-wing radical racists and perverts who are trying to indoctrinate our youth and we’re going to get their Marxist hands off of our children,” he said, promising to cut federal funding to schools that push far-left content in the classroom.
He also pledged to “defeat the cult of gender ideology,” adding, “We’re not going to allow men to play in women’s sports … it’s ridiculous.”
Since declaring in November his plans to run for a second non-consecutive term, Trump has stuck to video-released policy statements — rather than his raucous trademark rallies — to win back the loyalty of Republicans disillusioned by his bombastic style and his fixation on his 2020 loss to President Biden.
The campaign stops came two days after the respected Granite State poll found Trump trailing Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis by 12 points among New Hampshire Republicans — even though the former president remains the GOP’s only announced presidential candidate.
The poll, conducted by the University of New Hampshire, found DeSantis was the choice of 42% of likely GOP primary voters, with Trump at 30% — a difference well outside the sample’s 5.2% margin of error.
The state’s first-in-the-nation primary status makes it crucial to Trump’s nomination chances. But his popularity there crumbled during his presidency: he lost New Hampshire to Joe Biden by 7 points in 2020, after coming within a single point of beating Hillary Clinton there in 2016.
A host of big-name Republicans, including former veep Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, and others are widely expected to challenge Trump for the GOP nomination — although recent national polls show all of them in the single digits, far behind both DeSantis and Trump in a hypothetical 2024 presidential primary.
An Emerson College poll this week gave Trump a narrow 44% to 41% lead over Biden in a hypothetical 2024 election, while a Biden-DeSantis race would be a toss-up: 40% for the incumbent president, 39% for the Republican rival.
Scroll down to leave a comment and share your thoughts.