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On the eve of the New Hampshire primary, President Trump held a campaign rally Monday in Manchester, where he encouraged his supporters to cast votes for the “weakest candidate” in the Democratic field so as to sow further uncertainty in the contest to pick his opponent in 2020.
“I hear a lot of Republicans tomorrow will vote for the weakest candidate possible for the Democrats,” Trump said. “You can vote for the weakest candidate.”
Voters registered as undeclared can vote in either party’s primary in New Hampshire. According to the New Hampshire secretary of state, there are 415,871 undeclared voters in the state, more than those registered as either Democratic (276,385) or Republican (288,464).
Trump is on the ballot in the Republican primary but faces only token opposition. The Democratic race has at least five candidates in serious contention plus a number of likely also-rans. Trump didn’t declare his own preference for an opponent but implied he would like to run against Sen. Bernie Sanders, a self-declared democratic socialist from Vermont, who is leading in New Hampshire polls.
"America will never be a socialist country,” Trump declared Monday.
Just as he did in Iowa, where he held a rally days before the state caucuses on Feb. 3, Trump sought the spotlight in Manchester and didn’t hide his intention to “shake up the Dems a little bit.”
In his 57-minute speech, Trump continued to needle Democrats over the embarrassing failure of a smartphone app that resulted in a weeklong delay by the Iowa Democratic Party in declaring a winner of the caucuses.
“They don’t know what they’re doing, they can’t even count their votes,” he said.
Later in his speech, Trump returned to the caucuses. “Does anybody know who won Iowa?” he asked his crowd, adding, “Flip a coin, they’re going to run your health care.”
“Actually, I think they’re trying to take it away from Bernie again,” he said, doing his best to stoke hostilities between Sanders supporters and the national Democratic Party leaders.
Trump boasted of having more attendees at his rally at SNHU Arena — which has a capacity of just over 11,000 — than all of the rallies held by candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination combined.
“We have the biggest arenas in the country,” he said, vowing to “win New Hampshire in a landslide.”
It was Trump’s first rally since his acquittal by the Senate on two articles of impeachment brought by the House.
“The extreme left has been wasting America’s time with this vile hoax,” he said of his impeachment.
Trump claimed that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was “mumbling terribly” behind him during the State of the Union address. The crowd responded with a chant of “Lock her up!”
During the State of the Union, Trump awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh, who in 2008 encouraged his listeners to launch “Operation Chaos,” in which Republican voters would cross over and vote for Barack Obama in open primaries.
“I now believe he would be the weakest of the Democrat nominees,” Limbaugh said of Obama at the time. He was wrong.
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