Concerned about “liftoff” for his plane as snow fell outside, Donald Trump never quite took off during a New Hampshire appearance Saturday. Speaking at Scott Brown’s “No BS Backyard BBQ”, Trump meandered through a slightly shortened version of his typical remarks and answered audience questions. His audience was supportive, but not nearly as vocal or demonstrative as his typical rally audience and Trump seemed less energetic than usual. Held in a Portsmouth car dealer’s showroom, the event drew approximately 700 people. (The space was full, but without any overflow.)
Trump superlatives began as he walked onstage, declaring that “we don’t have snow like this in New York” as about 3 inches accumulated outside. He expressed concern about “lifting off” afterwards, saying “we’ll make it quick.”
Trump spoke for about 25 minutes, with an additional 15 minutes for questions. His remarks began (after an unprompted shout-out to Tom Brady) with a lengthy critique of Ted Cruz, terming Cruz a “great hypocrite” on his reported failure to report personal loans from Goldman Sachs and Citi, and a “total disgrace” for his “New York values” comments. Unlike the usual cheers he gets when attacking the press, Trump drew some jeers as he described Glenn Beck as “a really dopey guy”, an “idiot” and a “failed guy” who is a member of the “dishonest” media. (Trump described his complaints about Beck as growing out Beck claiming that Trump voted for Obama.) He drew cheers however, when he reacted positively to an audience shout-out for Scott Brown as vice president.
Trump’s discussions of Mexico, illegal immigration and polls were abbreviated, with more focus on Iraq, Iran and ISIS/al-Qaeda. He described Iran as “trying to get Iraq forever”, saying that they have “got Iraq courtesy of the United States,” and called the just-announced prisoner swap a “total disgrace.”
Question topics included services for military veterans, the federal government debt and deficits, student loan debt, the Middle East and the U.S./Mexico border. Trump’s answers were almost entirely broad generalities as he pronounced the Veterans Administration “one of the most corrupt enterprises in Washington” and a “disgrace” that “we are gonna run it professionally and great.” He did say that he plans to have a system allowing veterans to seek medical care outside the VA system but paid for by the federal government. The federal government’s debt drew a promise to “repeal and replace Obamacare” with “a great plan” and a declared intent to quickly move to “cutting the fraud, abuse, waste.”
Saying that “I will be the greatest jobs president that God ever created” Trump’s solution to high levels of student debt is the promise of creating a surplus of jobs that will allow graduates to pay their student debt. When asked if he is “gonna make a commitment to seal that border, close the immigration down for a couple of years until we figure out what to do next” Trump replied “I’m the one, you’re talking to the converted.” At the conclusion of his lengthy answer a man yelled “bigot”, but without further disruption.
Other questions included a request for a selfie, which Trump agreed to, and a seemingly troubled woman describing herself as an NFL player who’s suffered 9 concussions in 4 year complaining that she’s been unable to receive SSI. Trump politely said that he would have a staff member talk with her afterwards.
He mostly ignored his fellow candidates other than Cruz, with only a quick Common Core slam directed at Jeb Bush.
Trump concluded with a plea to “go out and vote.”
Video – Here are Trump’s complete remarks and Q&A:
Update – Photo Gallery: