Thick flurries swept up in 16 mph winds, temperatures hovering in the low 20s – the five or six protesters who came out to Donald Trump’s rally in Concord, NH on Monday didn’t stay more than half an hour, one by one succumbing to the brutal New England winter.
But before overfilling the auditorium of Concord High School, The Donald’s faithful stood outside for two hours – including dozens of CHS students, who had the day off for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
Breitbart decided to ask a few of them why they chose to come to school on a holiday. Alyssa Fineberg told us, “A lot of what Trump says resonates with me as young person in the jobs market. And I think he’s going to grow the economy and make more jobs.” Brooke Mills, a junior, said she wanted to hear Trump address the rampant use of opiates in the Granite State – what she called its “heroin epidemic.”
Trump didn’t disappoint.
Fittingly, considering the venue, Trump’s speech focused on the challenges facing young Americans. Answering a question on the affordability of higher education, he lashed out against colleges that charge exorbitant tuition while receiving federal grants, using students “like a middle man.” College Board estimates the average annual tuition of a four-year private college was $32,405 in 2015. On youth unemployment, Trump blamed outsourcing to China and Mexico. He condemned Nabisco for moving 600 jobs to Mexico, joking, “We’re not going to have any more Oreos.”
He also drew attention to the tariff imbalance between China and the United States. China places high import taxes on American-made goods, making it difficult for US manufacturers to enter the Chinese market, while America’s tariffs allow Chinese-made goods to flood ours. “You hear the President say, ‘Oh, our trade partners…’ What trade partners? I don’t want a partner like that,” Trump quipped, calling our $38 billion dollar trade deficit to China “the greatest theft that has ever occurred in the history of the world.”
Trump then spoke passionately the topic of youth opiate abuse, acknowledging that rates heroin addiction in New Hampshire is among the worst in the country: opioid-related deaths rose 76 percent in 2014. He promised that the wall he intends to construct along the southern border would significantly hinder drug smuggling operations from Mexico, while also noting the importance of prevention and rehabilitation. “We have to get the kids not to start,” he said, adding, “The ones that are already hooked, we gotta get them help.”
Trump reiterated his opposition to the Iraq War, which he blames for destabilizing the region, and signalled large changes in foreign military aid: “All these countries we’re protecting – we have a budget that’s so many times higher than number two, because we’re protecting Japan, we’re protecting Germany, we’re protecting South Korea against the maniac in North Korea, we’re protecting Saudi Arabia. How wealthy is Saudi Arabia? They pay us peanuts!” The United States currently provides some form of military aid to 150 countries and spent more than $5 billion in foreign military financing in 2015.
To the audience’s delight, Trump vowed to oppose efforts to push back the date of the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary. Operatives from other important primary states, particularly Florida, have long bemoaned the power and attention given to Iowa and New Hampshire: candidates who fail to win either state can expect their campaign to lose momentum rapidly.
An evening so centered on the next generation was appropriately punctuated by the surprise appearance of Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, who is eight months pregnant. When called up to the stage, the crowd erupted in cheers. “Look at ‘em!” Trump said, “They go crazy over Ivanka! They go crazier than they go over me. I don’t like this!”
After giving an eloquent, off-the-cuff speech, her father retook the podium and joked, “Can you imagine if she actually got up and said something bad? That would be so exciting. I’d say, ‘What the hell just happened?’”