Trump takes the Veterans Day speech in a very different direction

Former President Donald J. Trump, on a day set aside to celebrate those who have defended America in uniform, vowed to honor veterans in part by attacking what he portrayed as America’s greatest enemy: the political left.

Using inflammatory and dehumanizing language to refer to his opponents, Mr. Trump to “eradicate” what he called “the radical leftist thugs who live like vermin within our country’s borders.”

“The threat from outside forces is far less sinister, dangerous and serious than the threat from within,” Trump said Saturday in a nearly two-hour Veterans Day speech in Claremont, NH.

He also promised to take care of America’s veterans, reviving a hyperbolic claim he made throughout his 2016 campaign that Democrats “treat the illegal aliens who just pour into our country better than they treat our veterans. “

And he said he would redirect money currently earmarked “for the shelter and transportation of illegal aliens” to instead provide shelter and treatment for homeless military veterans.

Here are some of the more notable elements of Mr. Trump’s Veterans Day speech.

Mr. Trump, who faces a civil fraud lawsuit in New York and four criminal charges, said in a radio interview earlier this week that he would welcome cameras in the courtroom. He passed on Saturday.

“I want this trial to be seen by everyone in the world,” said Mr. Trump to a cheering crowd, referring to his federal election lawsuit in Washington. “The prosecution wants to continue this travesty in the dark and I want sunlight.”

Mr. Trump, who has denounced the prosecutions he faces as politically motivated and accused President Biden of arming the Justice Department, said he was confident Americans watching the trial would agree with his view.

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“Every person in America and beyond should have the opportunity to study this case for themselves,” he said.

Sir. Trump’s remarks came a day after his lawyers in the case filed papers arguing that those proceedings should be televised, and backed a similar push by other media organizations.

It was a rare instance of the former president finding common ground with the mainstream media, which Mr Trump attacked repeatedly on Saturday.

As he has done before, Mr Trump again called for the execution of drug traffickers and praised China for making drug trafficking a capital crime. But in New Hampshire, a state where the opioid crisis has hit particularly hard, he turned to an informal straw poll to bolster his case.

“Let’s have a vote,” said Mr. Trump to the audience. “Who would advocate the death penalty — wait, don’t go yet — knowing it will solve the problem?”

A majority of the audience raised their hands.

Fewer hands went up when Mr Trump asked who would oppose such a move. When one woman raised her hand emphatically, Mr. Trump looked at her with a small smile and asked, “Are you a liberal?”

She shook her head wildly to the contrary.

Mr. Trump also repeated the lies, lies, exaggerations and half-truths he has routinely told on a range of topics, including gas prices, US energy independence, election fraud and the 2020 election.

“I’m a very proud suffragist,” said Mr. Trump.

Sir. Trump had previously refrained from commenting on persistent rumors about whether Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis wears heel lifts in his cowboy boots – the subject of late-night banter and social media gossip. But on Saturday, he finally couldn’t help it.

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After taunting Mr. DeSantis to woo farmers in Iowa, Mr. Trump a side note: “By the way, I don’t wear elevators either. I don’t have six-inch heels!” The comment echoed a bit by Vivek Ramaswamy in Wednesday’s debate, where the entrepreneur and author made a dig at the Florida governor.

He then did a clownish impression of Mr. DeSantis, who walked off the stage at Wednesday night’s debate looking ripped from Monty Python’s Ministry of Silly Walks. “I thought he was wearing ice skates,” joked Mr. Trump.

Mr. Trump also mocked Gov. Chris Sununu of New Hampshire, a Republican who has said Mr. Trump may not win next year; Nancy Pelosi, the former Democratic speaker of the House; Hillary Clinton, his opponent in 2016; and Mr. Biden.

Mr. Trump praised Dana White, the president of the Ultimate Fighting Championship. “There’s a guy I’d like to make my chief of defense,” he said. “I wouldn’t call him my defensive boss, I’d call him my offensive boss.”

And he complimented China’s President Xi Jinping, of whom he said: “He’s like Central Casting. There’s no one in Hollywood who can play the part of President Xi – the looks, the strength, the voice.”