November 8, 2016
Donald Trump is finishing his campaign the way he began: Unplugged and unapologetic.
For the week or so following the bombshell announcement by FBI director James Comey regarding Hillary Clinton's email server, Trump handled himself with a greater level of sustained discipline than he exhibited during any other period in the race.
But on Monday, the final night of his campaign, Trump let it all out.
He veered from his TelePrompter remarks throughout his speech to a crowd in Manchester, N.H.
Trump complained about President Barack Obama’s golf playing, mocked Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren as “Pocahontas” one more time, and hammered Clinton for campaigning with musicians.
Clinton holds a narrow lead over Trump in New Hampshire, though polls have diverged significantly, according to RealClearPolitics.
Trump is trying to flip the state where President Obama handily beat Mitt Romney in 2012. It’s conceivable that New Hampshire’s four electoral votes could push Trump over 270 — if he over-performs his polls elsewhere.
On Monday night, Trump talked to some extent about his issues – the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, combatting drugs and illegal immigration, and rooting corruption out of Washington – but seemed more animated by the improvisational, often comic, riffs that served him so well during the GOP primaries.
At several points during the speech, Trump compared his crowd-pulling abilities to Clinton’s. He said the only reason she drew big crowds the past week – including a massive one Monday night in Philadelphia with Jon Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen – was because she got rock stars to campaign for her.
“Hillary can’t fill a room,” Trump said. “Look, this is called, this is called filling a stadium. And I have no guitar and no piano, right?”
Trump got the crowd booing when he riffed about the “bad” language used by Clinton supporters Jay Z and Beyonce.
Then he got to Springsteen.
“Tonight she has Bruce Springsteen,” the GOP nominee said. “So they perform, actually in the case of Jay Z they were leaving because so many of these people never heard language like that, they started to leave.”
“So what happens,” Trump added, “they come in, listen to the musician, which I think is demeaning to the political process. Because she can’t fill a room.”
“She’d come here, I’m telling you, she’d have a hundred people sitting on the first row,” he said. “And we don’t have a guitar. What we do have is we all have together a great plan to make America great again.”
Later in the speech, Trump renewed his longtime feud with Warren, Massachusetts’ liberal Democratic senator.
“Massachusetts is represented by Pocahontas, right? Pocahontas. It’s represented by Pocahontas. Oh, she’s terrible,” Trump said.
“She is just a terrible person,” he added, crinkling his face in disgust. “You know Clinton thinks she’s doing herself a favor to use this woman as a surrogate. Everybody that watches her, they say she is a terrible human being.
“She is,” he added. “Terrible.”
Trump then effectively endorsed Curt Schilling, the former Boston Red Sox pitcher who said he’s planning to run against Warren in her 2018 Senate race.
“I hear a very great baseball pitcher is going to challenge her,” Trump said. “You know what, he’s a great guy. I don’t know if he’s going to do it, but he’s a great guy.”
Trump also got the crowd roaring when he told them about two endorsements from New England sports heroes.
The GOP nominee said he received a phone call from his friend, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. In Trump’s re-telling, Brady told him he’d voted for him and gave him permission to tell the New Hampshire crowd.
Trump then read out to the crowd a letter of lavish praise he said he received Monday from Patriots coach Bill Belichick.
Forecasters say Trump has only a narrow path to 270 electoral votes on Tuesday night. As of 10:30 p.m. Monday, FiveThirtyEight gave Trump a 28.5 percent chance of winning — a downward revision from several days ago.
Trump, however, told the crowd that the polls were wrong, that the blue state of Michigan was in play, and that “it’s going to be amazing.”
Citing the visual evidence of “long lines,” the GOP nominee told the New Hampshire crowd he was doing well with two demographic groups that polls have overwhelmingly supporting Clinton.
“If you look down in Florida, look at those long lines,” Trump said. “We have been doing very well with the African-American community and with the Hispanic community, and all of the dishonest press, they’re saying ‘what’s going on here?’”
“Among the world’s most dishonest people,” he added, before launching into his routine attacking the media and getting the crowd to boo louder than ever.
Trump brought his children and their spouses on stage to begin the event in New Hampshire. Seeming nostalgic, he thanked the state’s voters for giving him his first victory of the GOP primary season.
He also promised them he’d never let them down and that he’d fix the state’s heroin problem quickly and entirely upon taking office.
Trump finished his speech with a rallying call to every forgotten man, woman, and child; saying this was their last chance, their “one magnificent chance,” to beat a corrupt system.
He listed, briskly, all the conservative policies he’d implement if elected president. These included protecting religious liberty, rebuilding the military, taking care of veterans and “bringing education local.”
But before he got to that final pitch, he couldn’t resist throwing one final punch at Obama.
“I mean he’s played more golf than most people on the PGA Tour,” Trump said. “This guy. Like, is it over 300 rounds?”
“Golf is fine,” added Trump, himself a player of golf and owner of golf courses.
“But always play with leaders of countries and people who can help us. Don’t play with your friends all the time."
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