To the delight of his supporters, Trump wins New Hampshire GOP primary

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump arrives to speak at a primary election night party in Nashua, N.H., Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump arrives to speak at a primary election night party in Nashua, N.H., Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais) Pablo Martinez Monsivais

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump walks backstage after speaking at a primary election night party in Nashua, N.H., Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump walks backstage after speaking at a primary election night party in Nashua, N.H., Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke) Chloe Rattee

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump walks backstage after speaking at a primary election night party in Nashua, N.H., Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024. At left is valet Walt Nauta. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump walks backstage after speaking at a primary election night party in Nashua, N.H., Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024. At left is valet Walt Nauta. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke) Chloe Rattee

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump reacts after speaking at a primary election night party in Nashua, N.H., Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024. At left are Vivek Ramaswamy and Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump reacts after speaking at a primary election night party in Nashua, N.H., Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024. At left are Vivek Ramaswamy and Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke) Chloe Rattee

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks at a primary election night party in Nashua, N.H., Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks at a primary election night party in Nashua, N.H., Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke) Chloe Rattee

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump arrives to speak at a primary election night party in Nashua, N.H., Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024. At right is Eric Trump. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump arrives to speak at a primary election night party in Nashua, N.H., Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024. At right is Eric Trump. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke) Chloe Rattee

Donna Eiden lives out of an RV, selling merchandise and following the former president to rallies across the country.

Donna Eiden lives out of an RV, selling merchandise and following the former president to rallies across the country. Michaela Towfighi / Monitor staff

Donna Eiden lives out of an RV, selling merchandise and following the former president to rallies across the country.

Donna Eiden lives out of an RV, selling merchandise and following the former president to rallies across the country. Michaela Towfighi

Former Gov. Nikki Haley reassured her supporters she is carrying on in the race against Donald Trump after coming in second in the New Hampshire Primary as she spoke at the Grappone Conference Center in Concord on Tuesday night, January 23, 2024.

Former Gov. Nikki Haley reassured her supporters she is carrying on in the race against Donald Trump after coming in second in the New Hampshire Primary as she spoke at the Grappone Conference Center in Concord on Tuesday night, January 23, 2024. GEOFF FORESTER

Donna Eiden lives out of a Trump RV, selling merchandise and following the former President to rallies across the country.

Donna Eiden lives out of a Trump RV, selling merchandise and following the former President to rallies across the country. Michaela Towfighi—Monitor staff

Donna Eiden lives out of a Trump RV, selling merchandise and following the former President to rallies across the country.

Donna Eiden lives out of a Trump RV, selling merchandise and following the former President to rallies across the country. Michaela Towfighi—Monitor staff

By MICHAELA TOWFIGHI

Monitor staff

Published: 01-23-2024 10:47 PM

Donna Eiden is confident she has Trump merchandise that no one else has. She’s got windbreakers that feature Trump’s 2020 ticket with Mike Pence. She displays a scarf she bought in New Jersey with the former president’s face embroidered and a slogan, “make liberals cry again.” Plus she has hats, dog toys, Christmas ornaments, stickers and t-shirts that fill every inch of free space.

She’s amassed her Trump store in the five years that she’s followed the former president across the country – living out of her RV with her boyfriend, Rocky, parking outside 150 campaign events in 42 different states.

Tuesday night turned out to be a good night for Eiden, parked outside the Sheraton Hotel in Nashua as former President Donald Trump spoke to supporters after defeating former ambassador Nikki Haley in the New Hampshire primary.

Trump tore into Haley after she refused to drop out clearing his path to the nomination.

Unlike his election night speech in Iowa when he called for unity, Trump piled on Haley.

“Let’s not have someone take a victory when she had a very bad night,” Trump said. He added, “Just a little note to Nikki: She’s not going to win.”

Earlier in the night Haley said the race was far from over.

“There are dozens of states left to go,” Haley said.

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Trump wasn’t buying it.

“I don’t get too angry. I get even,” he told his supporters.

For Eiden, Trump is more than a former president or celebrity she used to watch on “The Apprentice.”

She now falls asleep in a small bedroom in the back of an RV that is stocked to the brim with Trump merchandise. She showers at gyms across the country because merchandise fills the only shower on board. She makes a living off of her sales – earning $42,000 last year. She met her boyfriend when she was working as a cook in a Philadelphia restaurant when he was selling Trump and Eagles merchandise after the team won the Super Bowl in 2018.

Shortly thereafter she joined him in the van. Now the former president’s campaign schedule dictates where in the country she lives, as she follows him rally to rally.

Now she has stories from every state she’s been to, with six different RVs taking her there. Some were totaled, one burned down. Another, she and her boyfriend Rocky gave away, after they came across two boys in Texas experiencing homelessness.

She’s met new friends along the never-ending campaign trail, like Stephanie Dietz, who found them outside a rally the weekend leading up to the primary.

Eiden drove into the Granite State five days before January 23, traveling to each of Trump’s rallies in Concord, Manchester and Laconia. At one, Dietz came to their door with frostbite on her hands and feet. Eiden invited her into the van.

Soon the two bonded over their love for Trump. Days later, Eiden said Dietz, 41, felt like a daughter – she’d lost her own a few years prior, with her ashes in an urn tucked next to her passenger door seat. Ahead of Trump’s speech on Tuesday night, the two sat in the bus as Dietz showed her photos from his event the night prior in Laconia.

The event was a homecoming in a sense for Dietz, who grew up in Meredith. She saw old school teachers in line and friends from high school in the crowd. By the time the event started, she’d weaseled her way to the front of the crowd – with her red jacket a standout front and center in a picture that Trump’s campaign posted on his Instagram after the event.

The New Hampshire native has a slew of reasons for her support of the former president. She said no wars began while he was in office. While she was living abroad in Austria in 2020, his administration helped her get home due to pandemic restrictions after her brother died.

“Who would do that for their citizens?” she said.

It was one of many moments that reaffirmed her support for the former president.

But she’s never cast a vote in his favor, believing that the 2020 election was stolen and leery to vote until she knows it will be legitimate, she said.

“The only way they’re going to win is if they cheat,” Dietz said about Democrats.

Eiden voted for him in 2016 and 2020 and plans to do so again in the fall. Her current RV, which is four months old, won’t survive the drive to Nevada, where Trump is scheduled to speak on Saturday.

When news broke that the Associated Press called the primary for Trump just after 8 p.m., Eiden was sitting in the passenger seat of her van. She had been on the inside of her fair share of events. Now, she prefers the van – talking to other supporters as they come aboard, selling hats for $25.

If the former president heads to South Carolina next, she’ll start driving the van south.

“I wouldn’t be here without him. He’s got a lot to offer for people,” she said. “I want to stay with this campaign until the very end of Trump’s life.”