J.R. Oppenheim, Danielle Todesco, Chris Ramirez and Erica Zucco
October 31, 2016 06:32 AM
Before a crowd of thousands at an Atlantic Aviation hangar, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump said he is tied in the race for New Mexico and believes he will carry the Land of Enchantment.
Nine days removed from Election Day, Trump spoke Sunday at a rally in Albuquerque for the second time during the campaign. He made three campaign stops on Sunday, delivering speeches in Las Vegas, Nevada, and Greeley, Colorado earlier in the day.
Trump told his supporters he set up the Albuquerque rally in the last couple of days because the campaign heard the polls showed the race in New Mexico had narrowed. A poll published in the Santa Fe New Mexican on Friday showed Trump trailed Democratic rival Hillary Clinton by five percentage points. She had led Trump by 10 points in a previous poll.
“Traditionally, you understand, Republicans aren’t quite there, right, yet? But this is a Republican who is there,” Trump said. “We’re going to win this state. You’re going to be very happy. I’m going to fight to bring your jobs back, to make your communities safer and secure, and to deliver the honest government America deserves.”
Continuing with his campaign pledge to “Make America Great Again,” Trump discussed how health care premiums continue to rise under the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare. He told supporters he plans to repeal the act and has several plans to replace it, though he did not mention details.
He also took shots at his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton over the latest round of scandal involving her emails. He promised to “drain the swamp” in Washington.
He made other campaign promises like renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement -- he said New Mexico lost 40 percent of its manufacturing under NAFTA -- and voiced his opposition to another trade deal, the Trans-Pacific Partnership. He also said he would cut taxes.
In a campaign promise he’s stood by since the beginning of the campaign, he said he will build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border to curb illegal immigration and crime from flowing into the country. He remained consistent in his statements Mexico will pay for that wall.
New Mexico’s Trump supporters started filing into the hanger about 4 p.m. Many of them brought in signs that read “Women for Trump." That’s a demographic he has had a difficult time winning over.
Before the rally, his campaign sent an email announcing Trump added $10 million more his own money into the campaign. Trump’s advisers say he’s making a play in New Mexico because the race is so close. Recent polls show the gap between Clinton and Trump getting smaller, with Trump just five points behind her in the polls.
As people started to fill the hangar, there was a heavy law enforcement presence with the Secret Service scanning the crowd and an announcement from the campaign about how to handle potential protestors.
For the hour that Trump spoke, there was just one brief interruption. A shirtless man who caused a disruption in the crowd was quickly escorted out. Otherwise, it went off without a hitch.
Nearly every demographic was represented, including a lot of Native Americans who say they stand behind Trump to help their people. David Bearbow Bearshield estimates more than a thousand natives showed up to the rally.
“I believe it because as we were walking in there were crowds with their families, and it was remarkable to see,” Bearbow Bearshield said.
Women were also out in full force, waving their pink signs high as Trump spoke. Retired teacher Janice Fusco said the accusations against Trump about alleged sexual advances haven’t swayed her at all, nor did the now infamous comment trump made years ago about grabbing women.
“I hate to say it, but it is locker room talk and as a woman, we’ve heard it,” Fusco said. “And anybody who says they haven’t is lying.”
He also has the endorsement from local UFC fighters in Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone and Tim Kennedy. Cerrone said he was excited to help give the Pledge of Allegiance before Trump arrived.
“Trump, what he stands for, man I’m pro-guns and pro-America, and I just believe a lot of what he has to say,” Cerrone said. “I mean, sometimes he goes overboard with things and it’s funny, but he’s got some deep rooted good things in there.”
During Trump’s visit to downtown Albuquerque in May, protestors hit the streets and a small group of people started rioting, throwing rocks at police officers and setting T-shirts on fire. Several officers were injured that day.
This time, the rally was held in a much less centralized venue, so that may not happen again. But Albuquerque police worked with the Secret Service to offer “appropriate resources” and “appropriate actions.”
Protesters were on hand outside the rally. One group even dressed like clowns, carrying signs that said “Welcome fellow clowns” and “Clowns for Trump.”
The Associated Press reported seven protesters disrupted Trump’s speech. They were removed from the venue, telling the AP they were attacked as they were escorted from the hanger. The AP also captured video of a skirmish broke out between Trump supporters and opponents. Albuquerque police had tactical officers outside the venue.
However, the demonstration Sunday paled in comparison to what emerged from Trump’s first visit to New Mexico.
Hours prior to Trump’s rally, the Democratic Party of New Mexico hosted its own press conference near the rally site to discuss their opposition to his “divisive and extreme Republican agenda” that “will not stand in New Mexico.”
Party chairwoman Debra Haaland, state Senate Majority Whip Michael Padilla and House District 23 candidate Daymon Ely spoke the news conference.
Behind the podium, three people held signs reading “Love trumps hate” and “Nasty women vote.” The latter remark refers to a comment Trump made in the third debate against Clinton, saying she is “such a nasty woman.”
The party also issued a statement after Trump concluded his speech, trying to link other New Mexican Republicans like Congressman Steve Pearce and Secretary of State candidate Nora Espinoza to Trump’s “complete disregard for women, Hispanic communities, veterans, immigrants and our economy.”
Pearce, who represents southern New Mexico’s Second Congressional District, addressed the rally crowd before Trump’s plane landed.
The Democratic Party said in its statement early voting numbers show the race for New Mexico is not as close as Trump claims.
“The Republican vision for our state and our country couldn’t be more different than Democrats’ vision, and Trump’s desperate attempt to shore up support in New Mexico won’t work,” Haaland said in the statement. “Democrats will work every day to ensure Hillary’s message resonates in our state and we'll ensure that our voters cast their ballots for Democratic candidates up and down the ballot.”
Gov. Susana Martinez will not attend the rally, a spokesperson for her office said. She is attending a family memorial service in Boulder, Colorado, and will be back in New Mexico on Tuesday.
After the rally, Trump wrote on Twitter: "Beautiful rally in Albuquerque, New Mexico this evening - thank you. Get out & VOTE! #DrainTheSwamp."
J.R. Oppenheim, Danielle Todesco, Chris Ramirez and Erica Zucco
Updated: October 31, 2016 06:32 AM
Created: October 30, 2016 03:29 PM
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