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Elon Musk says he won’t directly back Joe Biden or Donald Trump in the US election. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Home » Trump rallies in New Hampshire amidst legal drama

Trump rallies in New Hampshire amidst legal drama

Former President Donald Trump exuded confidence as polls indicated a substantial lead over his sole remaining challenger, Nikki Haley.

23-01-24 14:38
elon musk donald trump
Elon Musk says he won’t directly back Joe Biden or Donald Trump in the US election. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Donald Trump held a final rally Monday in New Hampshire on the eve of the primary where polls show him likely to trounce the sole remaining challenger, Nikki Haley, for the Republican presidential nomination.

Trump spent the first part of the day in New York where he’d been planning to attend his sexual assault defamation trial — part of a strategy of embracing the scandal swirling around him. However, with one juror reporting sickness, the trial was postponed to Wednesday.

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The New Hampshire primary is seen as the last, best chance for Haley to stop Trump.

Despite being twice impeached as president and now facing four criminal cases, he has succeeded in imposing his hard-right brand on the entire Republican Party.

Several of Trump’s former primary rivals campaigned with him at an intimate rally in the New Hampshire town of Laconia as the ex-president sought to present a united front against Haley in his last event before voting centers open.

“Tomorrow we’re going to win New Hampshire and then we’re going to defeat crooked Joe Biden and we are going to make America great again,” he said to cheers from a small but raucous crowd, as he called Vivek Ramaswamy, Doug Burgum and Tim Scott on stage.

The event came with a new Washington Post/Monmouth poll showing Trump, 77, backed by 52 percent in New Hampshire to Haley’s 34 percent.

ALSO READ: Trump seeks to secure Republican presidential nomination

Haley, a former South Carolina governor who at 52 is 25 years Trump’s junior, is the sole challenger after Florida Governor Ron DeSantis dropped out over the weekend.

But unless she pulls off a political miracle, Trump is seen as likely to repeat his domination in the first contest in Iowa, then cruise through the remaining primaries to become the nominee to face President Joe Biden in November’s election.

“Now we are down to two people, and I think one person will be gone probably tomorrow, and the other one will be gone in November,” Trump told the Laconia crowd.

“But now is the time for the Republican Party to come together.”

The plan to begin the day by attending the defamation trial — and possibly taking the witness stand — highlighted Trump’s strategy of attempting to transform his legal morass into a political grandstand.

That message resonates with Republican right-wingers, who are key to winning the party nomination.

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The postponed New York civil trial features E. Jean Carroll, a successful writer, seeking more than $10 million in damages for defamation by Trump, whom another New York civil jury found liable for sexual assault against her.

Trump separately faces serious criminal prosecutions, including over his alleged attempt to overthrow the results of the 2020 election which he lost to Biden.


Haley, who served as UN ambassador under Trump, has turned on her old boss sharply in recent days, pointing to a series of bizarre stumbles during his speeches as a sign he is losing mental competence.

“He’s just not at the same level he was at 2016. I think we’re seeing some of that decline,” she told CBS.

She also hopes to benefit from large numbers of less-partisan voters in New Hampshire, rather than the heavily conservative Republican base in Iowa.

But with DeSantis out and endorsing Trump, the march of the scandal-plagued businessman looks increasingly unstoppable.

“Big Polls out of New Hampshire. Birdbrain is way down, I am way up,” Trump wrote on his Truth Social platform, using an insult for Haley.

As Trump builds momentum, Democratic incumbent Biden will hold a rally in Virginia on primary day and is expected to push abortion rights, which his party hopes will be a significant vote-winner.

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If Haley over-performs Tuesday, that could see her regain buzz in time for the primary in her home state of South Carolina, in late February.

Trump, however, may well be on his way to something of a coronation by then, with “Super Tuesday” on March 5. With 874 delegates on the table, it can get a candidate 75 percent towards the nomination.

© Agence France-Presse