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Trump faithful in N.H. relish re-election message  

  • Supporters watch President Donald Trump’s 2020 campaign launch at a watch party in Epping on Tuesday. Jake Sheridan / Monitor staff

Monitor staff
Published: 6/19/2019 1:34:08 PM

The TV at Ryan’s Place diner in Epping, wedged between a “We Support the Troops” flag, the star-spangled banner and a picture of two fighter jets, was tuned in to the launch of Donald Trump’s 2020 campaign Tuesday night.

As Trump claimed federal agents have deported members of MS-13 by the thousands, Nancy Kindler, sitting in a red upholstered booth some 1,900 miles from the Mexican border, let out a scream of approval.

“Yes! Woo! He tells it like it is!” shouted Kindler to the three dozen supporters gathered for a watch party.

As the president cited victories, cursed enemies and presented a harrowing alternative to four more years of himself, the fervent supporters gathered at Ryan’s Place clapped, laughed and nodded with approval. Kindler said she couldn’t see much in Trump’s presidency that hasn’t been successful, citing the economy, veteran care and judicial appointments. Her number one issue is illegal immigration, which she called “a thorn in our side.”

“When people come to this country and they don’t want to speak English, don’t want to respect our customs and beliefs and our patriotism – they should assimilate,” said Kindler, who lives in Epping. “I’m one of those people who believe there are people who want to destroy us from within.”

The crowd at Ryan’s Place chuckled at Trump’s attacks on Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden and the media. A few joined supporters in Orlando to cheers of “lock her up” and “build the wall.” Most clapped when the president brought up the economy. They agreed aloud when the president called Democrats “dangerous, radical and unhinged.”

“Isn’t this all just common sense?” asked a man in the corner table as Trump railed on.

“If they just got out of his way, he’d do miracles,” answered another.

Border security

Standing next to the diner counter, Rep. Scott Wallace of Rockingham, an early Trump supporter whose lapel bore a gold rifle-shaped pin, praised tax and regulation reductions. His biggest concern, however, was “tightening up the Southern border.”

Jorge Mesa-Tejada, a Marine veteran from Hampstead, lingered around the food spread out on the diner counter after Trump’s almost hour-and-a-half long speech. He said he heard exactly what he expected to from Trump.

“He’s for the people, down to Earth, talks our language and doesn’t pull any punches.”

That language, Mesa-Tejada said, focuses on border security.

“We want secure borders. We want no sanctuary cities. We want everyone to enforce our laws. We want the United States we had – the one I came to under Eisenhower,” said Mesa-Tejada.

Confident about 2020

When Trump urged the crowd at his Orlando rally to pick between his old “Make America Great Again” slogan and a new one – “Keep America Great” – Mickey McDermot, who owns and runs Ryan’s Place with her friend Andrea Tierney, hollered and clapped for the second. A red cap with Trump’s slogan sat behind McDermot’s checkout counter. She said she’ll be happy to buy an updated hat.

“Taking care of vets is really important to us here,” said McDermot, who named her restaurant after her son, Ryan, an Army specialist who served a tour in Afghanistan before he died suddenly at Fort Hood. Tributes to soldiers and veterans are scattered throughout the diner – a POW-MIA flag on the wall, a set table left empty for soldiers who will never return, a picture of McDermot’s son in uniform. Like others in the diner, she was also focused on border security.

“Me, personally, this immigration thing, ‘build that wall,’ I’m all for it,” she said. “Our vets are homeless, without Medicare, jobs. Take care of your own first.”

She said Trump has taken care of veterans, and she expects him to do that for another five-and-a-half years. She couldn’t be less worried about Democratic presidential candidates.

“It’s Trump all the way. The other ones are going to get lost in the dust, all these 155 other Democrats,” McDermot said. “All they do is bash him. They have nothing to run on. It’s a joke. He’s got it in the bag.”

As a few supporters lingered, co-owner Andrea Tierney swept the floor and agreed with McDermot.

“Everyone’s happy with how it’s going ... this is the best place the country’s been in awhile,” said Tierney, who added that the restaurant, which opened a year ago, has benefited from a healthy economy.

Tierney agreed that Democrats don’t have a chance against Trump.

“Nope. Not at all,” said Tierney.

As Tierney and McDermot closed up for the night, RNC spokesperson Nina McLaughlin put a thumbs-up Trump cutout in her car. The aura of Trump’s first campaign seemed to live on tonight, she said.

“In 2016, we knew the energy was there the whole time. It just wasn’t always visible to the media or people who weren’t looking,” said McLaughlin. “It’s still there, and if anything I think it’s more excited, more loyal, more faithful.”

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