WMUR: After strong debate, Trump makes early morning appearance at record-setting Politics and Eggs event (VIDEO) As originally appearing in WMUR
BY JOHN DISTASO
MANCHESTER, N.H. —After a strong performance in the fourth Republican debate in Milwaukee on Tuesday night, Donald Trump arrived in New Hampshire very early Wednesday morning offering to more than 600 Granite Staters his now familiar positions on issues ranging from immigration and education to the Keystone Pipeline and space exploration.
He gave recognition to the nation’s veterans, calling them “special people.” He said his plan to improve services for them allows them to go to private doctors or hospitals and has been “so well-received.”
Trump focused on the heroin epidemic plaguing New Hampshire and the nation, stressing that the closing the nation’s borders to illegal immigrants will alleviate the problem.
He even fielded a question from a young boy about NASA, prompting him to declare: “Space is terrific.”
Trump, the GOP frontrunner in New Hampshire less than three months before the first-in-the-nation primary, exuded his usual confidence at a Politics and Eggs breakfast event in downtown Manchester that attracted a record-setting crowd. But he did so with a quieter demeanor than in the past. He told WMUR.com later he has altered his approach now that he has maintained his frontrunner position for an extended period of time.
But Trump did not shy away from touting the positive reviews of his Tuesday night debate performance. He noted that there were eight candidates on the main stage, two fewer than in the last debate.
“And one by one by one they’re disappearing,” he said. “It’s a beautiful thing to watch as they go out. I love it. Every day, another one goes out.”
The New York City businessman was, as usual, an “event” in his own right at the Radisson Hotel.
He posed for photos with police officers who were on detail for the breakfast. He posed with workers who served breakfast to the crowd. He shook scores of hands hands and signed numerous copies of his new book, “Crippled America,” after the event. And he attracted the usual crush of national media.
Trump, accompanied by his sons, Donald Jr. and Eric, said he loves the Granite State, where he has been consistently leading in the polls since mid-summer.
“The relationship that we have with New Hampshire and the people of New Hampshire has been amazing,” he said. “I wish we could hold the election tomorrow.”
“We can make this country better than ever before,” Trump told the crowd. “But if we go another four years with Hillary and all those characters, it’s never going to happen.”
A man suggested that Trump pick New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie as a running mate “when you win the nomination.”
“Good man. Good guy,” Trump said of Christie. “Well, there certainly could be a place for him” in a Trump administration. But he said it is premature to talk about running mates.
Trump said that despite being criticized by some for his hard line position on immigration, it remains popular among many Republicans.
He said that at the debate, “When I said we’re going to build a wall, the place went crazy. That happens a lot because people want borders.”
Trump tied his stance on immigration to the heroin epidemic plaguing New Hampshire and much of the nation.
“It’s like an unbelievable problem that you have, and you know where that stuff comes from,” he said. “It’s not unique to New Hampshire, but I think you have it bigger and tougher than anybody else, it just seems.”
“We’re going to close the border,” he said. “We are going to build a wall. We’re not playing games.”
Trump also praised a 2-1 federal appellate court ruling earlier this week that upheld a lower court judge’s rejection of President Barack Obama’s executive orders allowing undocumented immigrants to legally live and work in the United States. Obama will appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Trump said presidents should work with Congress to arrive at compromise legislation on immigration and other issues, but Obama “couldn’t make a deal. You’re supposed to make a deal. But it’s not his thing.”
“But I’m telling you, this was a great thing that happened two days ago,” Trump said. “They (the appellate judges) did a great job. They did a fantastic job.”
He reiterated his opposition to the federal Common Core education program, calling it “ridiculous” and saying education should be locally controlled.
“I’m a big, big fan of education, believe me,” Trump said.
He promised to shore up the Social Security Trust Fund without cutting benefits or raising the retirement age.
“My plan is to leave Social Security alone,” Trump said. “What we’re going to do is get rid of the fraud, the abuse and the waste. We’re going to bring jobs back to our country. We’re going to make our country rich again and we’re going to be able to take care of our Medicare and our Social Security.”
When a member of the audience asked Trump to comment on “the increasing militarization of the police force,” Trump said, “I happen to think that the police have not been treated properly. I really do feel that we have to cherish our police.”
Trump called Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl “a dirty rotten traitor” who was released from captivity by terrorists in return for “five killers who are back on the battlefield.”
A question about the Keystone Pipeline prompted Trump to launch into a staunch defense of the eminent domain process.
“I want the pipeline,” he said, “and without eminent domain, you don’t have a pipeline.”
“You want to have roads. You want to have sewer systems.”
He said representatives of the conservative group Club for Growth – “a bunch of real losers,” Trump called them – solicited him for a $1 million contribution.
He refused, and the group later aired television ads critical of his support of eminent domain. Trump said the group also held a news conference declaring that “Trump is not a real conservative.”
“I guarantee you if I gave him a million dollars, he would have said I’m the greatest guy in the world.”
Trump also commented on space exploration, thanks to a question about NASA posed by a young boy.
“You know, in the old days, it was great,” Trump said. “Right now, we have bigger problems, you understand that? We’ve got to fix our potholes. You know, we don’t exactly have a lot of money.”
But then he said, “I love NASA. I love what it represents. I love what it stands for, and I hope that someday in the not-too-distant future, we can get that going. Space is terrific. Space is terrific.”