MANCHESTER — It’s been almost three years since the election, but the thousands of people in the SNHU Arena remembered the choreography of a campaign rally for President Donald Trump.
They chanted “Lock her up!” when Trump spoke about Hillary Clinton.
They booed on the President’s cue, at the “fake news media.”
When someone yelled out, “Build the wall,” the crowd started chanting, “Build the wall! Build the wall!”
In his speech Thursday night, Trump largely focused on trade and the economy.
His pitch to New Hampshire voters is that the economy is doing well: it is doing well because of his policies, and would suffer under Democratic leadership.
Trump spoke about the low unemployment in New Hampshire and across the country. He guessed unemployment in New Hampshire would soon be at the lowest “in history,” and referred to the hollowing out of industry in New England.
“You’re like central casting for the closing of factories,” Trump said. He said he wanted more manufacturing in the United States, and that his policies are making that happen.
“America is working again, America is winning again, America is respected like never before.” Trump said.
Trump had words of praise for a number of New Hampshire politicians, including Gov. Chris Sununu.
He made a point of saying hello to Sununu’s father, former N.H. governor John H. Sununu.
“He went from being the toughest critic to being a supporter,” Trump said of the senior Sununu.
House Republican Leader Dick Hinch of Merrimack “was with me right from the beginning,” Trump said.
And to NH GOP Chairman Steve Stepanek, he said: “Thank you, great job.”
He also mentioned former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski’s flirtation with running for the U.S. Senate in New Hampshire.
“He would be fantastic,” Trump said.
“I don’t even know if he’s running,” Trump said. “So Corey, let us know please.”
Lewandowski circled the arena as the President talked about him, shaking hands with Trump's supporters.
Declared Senate candidate and former state Rep. Bill O'Brien was at the rally too, but the President did not call out to him from the stage.
Trump said his trade tactics with China have been successful, though the two sides have yet to come to an agreement. A resumption in talks is set for September.
Trump praised his administration's “beautiful, well-placed tariffs” on imported goods, and said he thought Beijing would bend in trade negotiations.
“They’re going to make a deal,” he said.
Some analysts say the tariffs Trump has imposed on Chinese products are responsible for a slowing of the U.S. economy, with costs being passed on to American consumers. But Trump said no.
“They’re eating the tariffs, by the way,” Trump said of the Chinese. “There’s no price increase.”
He also touted about his withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement.
Trump touched briefly on problems of mental illness and drug addiction.
He said he wanted background checks to keep guns from mentally ill people. He then called for “new facilities” like the mental institutions closed in the 1960s and 1970s, to take “mentally deranged and dangerous people off the street, so we don’t have to worry about them anymore,” he said.
Before the rally, Trump campaign officials said they were working to convert the thousands of people at the rally into enthusiastic volunteers.
“All of you are what’s going to bring home New Hampshire in 2020,” campaign manager Brad Parscale told the crowd. He asked people to sign up for a text message list.
Campaign spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany said the rally would rile up Trump supporters — but it would also give the campaign updated email addresses and phone numbers for Trump supporters in New England.
“Our data operation is one of the best in history,” she said.
Every rally attendee provided the campaign with his or her name, and current email address and phone number.
McEnany said the campaign would try to get the rally attendees to become volunteers — she said the campaign is trying to recruit 2 million to knock on doors and make phone calls as the election heats up.
“They’re going to be some of our best volunteers,” she said of the rally-goers.
Information from Reuters was used in this report.