Former President Donald Trump visited the first two primary states, New Hampshire and South Carolina, on Saturday as his 2024 presidential campaign officially hit the trail.
Trump delivered the keynote address at the New Hampshire Republican Party’s annual meeting in Salem, New Hampshire, on Saturday morning.
“So we’re here, and we start, we begin,” said Trump at the top of his address, adding he was “thrilled to be back in this beautiful state.”‘
Trump announced New Hampshire GOP Chairman Steve Stepanaek, who co-chaired his first presidential campaign in the Granite State, would be “stepping down and… coming on board as the senior adviser for my New Hampshire campaign.” He also reaffirmed his advocacy for New Hampshire’s status as the first primary state in the nation, drawing strong applause from those in attendance, and he pledged to preserve it “for many, many years to come” if elected president.
“We’re going to turn New Hampshire red November 5, 2024,” asserted Trump, who recently polled three points ahead of President Joe Biden and remains the lone GOP candidate in the race.
CNN reported that he also bashed media, as many mainstream and legacy outlets and networks like CNN have attempted to brand his campaign as being off to a “sluggish start,” as he has not held one of his trademark rallies.
“They said, ‘He’s not doing rallies, maybe he’s lost that step.’ I’m more angry now and I’m more committed now than I ever was,” Trump said, according to CNN’s Katie Sullivan, Gabby Orr, and Kristin Holmes.
However, Chris LaCivita noted earlier this month when speaking with Politico that it is very early in the campaign and added that “it would be kind of crazy to be spending huge amounts of money this far out.” For reference, the Iowa caucus remains twelve months away, and Trump did not even announce his first campaign for the presidency until June 2015 – seven months ahead of the Iowa caucus.
Additionally, Trump has put forth a number of videos laying out strong policy platforms on many issues, including a comprehensive plan to protect free speech, a vision to take on drug cartels in a fashion similar to the Islamic State, and a plan to protect America’s economic “Crown Jewels” from communist China. These videos have coincided with a substantial 15-point surge in his favorability since December, which was documented in a recent Economist/YouGov poll.
After his remarks in New Hampshire, the 45th president headed down to Columbia, South Carolina, where he held his first official campaign event and was flanked by early supporters Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Gov Henry McMaster (R-SC), and Rep Russell Fry (R-SC).
“I’m thrilled to be back in the great state of South Carolina, we won it twice by record numbers, and it’s just a real honor. It’s an incredible place,” said Trump after being introduced by Fry, the only freshman congressman to serve on the House Oversight and Judiciary Committees. “The famous saying goes, ‘South Carolina picks presidents.'”
“This campaign will be about the future. This campaign will be about issues, ” he later said. “Joe Biden has put America on the fast track to ruin and destruction, and we will ensure that he does not receive four more years.”
“The 2024 election is our one shot to save our country, and we need a leader who is ready to do that on day one. We need a fighter who can stand up to the left, who can stand up to the swamp, stand up to the media, stand up to the deep state … am I allowed to say stand up to the RINOs too?” Trump laughed.
Trump announced Graham and McMaster were heading his campaign’s leadership team in the Palmetto state, and the pair delivered remarks after he spoke.
“As you have noticed, this crowd loves you,” McMaster told Trump. “And that’s because we believe in common sense, we believe in the Declaration of Independence, we believe in the Consitution, we believe in the Bible, and we believe in you. ”
“Well, he did it once, he can do it again,” Graham told the crowd.
“How many times have you heard, ‘We like Trump policies, but we want somebody new?’ There are no Trump policies without Donald Trump,” Graham declared. ” I was there, you know why $400 billion was given by NATO nations? Because he asked, and they were afraid to say no.”
“People talk about China; you did something about China,” he told Trump. “They finally paid. Everybody’s been talking about China, you made ’em pay.”
“The good news for the Republican Party, there are many talented people for years to come, but there is only one Donald Trump,” added Graham.
Following the event, in which Trump introduced other members of his leadership team, the 45th president stopped at a local business, where a worker prayed over him.