Again claiming voter fraud, Trump won’t concede defeat in New Hampshire

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  • Jeanie Hanczarek has a discussion with Trump supporter Wayne Morel of Derry outside of the SNHU Arena as Peter Collins holds his ‘No Wall’ sign on Thursday. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

  • Trump supporter Margaret Kris of Manchester holds up her sign as cars beep in support outside the SNHU Arena as they wait to enter the arena on Thursday. Asked if she believes in President Trump’s immigration policies, Kris responded, “Even Heaven has borders and not everyone gets in.” GEOFF FORESTER photos / Monitor staff

  • Trump supporter Margaret Kris of Manchester holds up her sign as cars beep in support outside the SNHU Arena as they wait to enter on Thursday, August 15, 2109. Asked if she believes in President Trump’s immigration policies, Kris responded, “Even Heaven has borders and not everyone gets in.” GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Chris O’Connor of Concord tunes his guitar as he gets ready to sing across the street from the SNHU Arena as Trump supporters walk up to the event on Thursday.

  • Jeanie Hanczarek has a discussion with Trump supporter Wayne Morel of Derry outside of the SNHU Arena as Peter Collins holds his ‘No Wall’ sign on Thursday, August 15, 2109. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Jeanie Hanczarek has a discussion with Trump supporter Wayne Morel of Derry as Peter Collins holds his ‘No Wall’ sign and gets an earful from two Trump supporters utside of the SNHU Arena on Thursday, August 15, 2109. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Chris O’Connor of Concord stands across the street from the SNHU Arena as Trump supporters walk up to the event on Thursday, August 15, 2109. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Joe from Nashua reacts to the crowd passerbys across the street from SNHU Arena on Thursday, August 15, 2019 as everyone waits for President Trump to arrive and speak. Joe was fine with being photographed but didn’t want to give his last name. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • President Donald Trump holds a Keep America Great hat as he speaks at a campaign rally on Thursday in Manchester. AP

For the Monitor
Published: 8/15/2019 10:09:49 PM

President Donald Trump doesn’t like defeat.

Holding his first campaign event in New Hampshire since the eve of the 2016 election, Trump resurrected unsubstantiated claims that he lost in the Granite State to Hillary Clinton four years ago because of voter fraud.

“We should have won here. It was taken away from us. It’s not your fault,” Trump said to a packed crowd at the Southern New Hampshire University Arena in Manchester Thursday night.

Earlier, speaking to reporters before boarding Air Force One, the president made specific claims of voter fraud in the Granite State.

“New Hampshire should have been won last time, except we had a lot of people come in at the last moment, which was a rather strange situation,” Trump said. “Thousands and thousands of people coming in from locations unknown. But I knew where their location was.”

Trump’s crushing victory over his GOP rivals in New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation presidential primary in February of 2016 launched him toward winning the Republican presidential nomination and eventually the White House.

But the GOP nominee narrowly lost the battleground state’s four electoral votes to Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in the 2016 general election by less than 3,000 votes, according to official tallies certified by the Secretary of State. Shortly after winning the White House Trump twice made unsubstantiated charges that widespread voter fraud prevented him from winning in New Hampshire.

In the wake of the election, Republican Gov. Chris Sununu signed bills into law that were passed by the then-GOP dominated State House in 2017 and 2018 that tightened voter eligibility in New Hampshire. This year Sununu vetoed measures passed by the now-Democratic majorities in the legislative that would have rolled back those laws.

Sununu – who supports the president and has close ties with the White House – greeted Trump upon his arrival at Manchester’s airport. Sununu and NHGOP chair Steve Stepanek – who was a co-chair of Trump’s 2016 campaign in the Granite State, rode with the president from the airport to the arena in the vehicle known as “The Beast.”

This time around, the president and his campaign are hoping to flip New Hampshire from red to blue. But Trump arrived in the state with his approval rating remaining underwater. A University of New Hampshire poll released earlier this week indicated the president had 42 percent approval and 53 percent disapproval in the state.

Near the top of his rally, Trump dismissed such polls, asking, “I’m tied with the Democrats in New Hampshire?”

He answered his own question, saying, “I don’t think so.”

The rally was Trump’s first since the mass shootings a week and a half ago in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio. Responding to those shootings, the president cited the importance of mental health treatment and pledged “we will always uphold the Second Amendment.”

The line drew some of the biggest sustained applause of the night from the crowd.

The president also promised to work more to combat the opioid addiction crisis, a top issue facing Granite Staters.

Trump arrived in New Hampshire after the financial markets regained some of their steep losses from Wednesday. The president told the crowd that the markets would have “crashed” entirely if he were not president.

“You have no choice but to vote for me,” Trump emphasized. Otherwise, “Your 401(k)’s gonna be down the tubes.”

He added, “Whether you like me or hate me, you’ve got to vote for me.”

Touting the state’s economy as his supporters roared, a playful president asked “are we sure we’re in New Hampshire?”

“You have a reputation as a very staid, very elegant people, and you’re not acting it tonight, and that’s a good thing,” he added.

New Hampshire Democrats were anything but staid in their reaction to the president and his policies

Demonstrators gathered just outside the arena were chanting “hey, hey, ho, ho. Donald Trump has got to go.”

In the crowd was Jennifer Buck of Webster.

“I can’t stand this man anymore. I can’t stand what he’s doing to our country,” Webster told the Monitor. “I can’t stand that he’s a white supremacist.

“He’s an embarrassment to the United States,” she said.

The counter rally was organized by the New Hampshire Democratic Party and a number of state based progressive groups.

The party set up sign on an electronic billboard a block from the arena that read “in 938 days, Donald Trump Has Lied 12,019 Times.”

At a restaurant a few blocks north of the arena, New Hampshire campaign staff, volunteers and supporters of former Vice President Joe Biden held a “response rally” which they called “Stand Up to Hate.”

The campaign of former Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke dropped a large banner at their state campaign headquarters – just a couple of blocks south of the arena, that read “Hate is not welcome here.”

Waiting to get into the arena hours before the president’s arrival were a throng of Trump supporters, mostly from New Hampshire and Massachusetts.

Sabastian Agapite – who was wearing a VIP badge -made the drive from Cape Cod.

“It’s a once and life time opportunity to meet the president. I’m a big supporter,” he said.

For Rebecca Putnam of Falmouth, Massachusetts – who said she was a small business owner – the presidents policies equal prosperity.

“I believe that he’s making the economy better and increasing the jobs,” she said.




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