How better to observe MLKing Day than by spending it with one of America’s most noted carnival barkers. The Donald rolled into Concord, NH Monday, to stage a rally at the Concord High School. One thing that the Trump people do is to keep the room orderly: rows of chairs, bleachers pulled out, no wandering the aisles…the world as it should be. It was bitterly cold out 17˚ with a stiff wind. Waiting in line to get in ahead of me were a young couple of girls, who attended Concord High. They were coming to see if a Trump rally was everything they had heard about and they were hoping to get some extra credit for writing an essay about their day. There were three college guys from Maine there, too. I picked them out as I had seen them at the Cruz “Cruzin’ to Victory” bus tour rally in Washington, NH earlier in the day. I spoke with them as I had taken their photos at the Cruz event and wanted to let them know they could get a copy…they wanted it. I got to speak with them and found that they were active college Republicans in Maine. One was the president of the Maine College Republicans. At my previous Trump event in Claremont, I had entered as a press photographer, this time I decided to be a common citizen and am glad I did. In Claremont, if you had a press pass you were corralled into the press area and not aloud to wander or get close to his “maneness.” So, as a regular attendee I was able to get up close to himself and get some decent photos which I hadn’t been able to in the previous rally. As I sat in the bleachers waiting for the rally to begin, I could see Trump’s storm troopers gathering up all the errant photographers and videographers around the gym and sending them to the press pen. I guess I sort of chuckled up my sleeve at having planned to outsmart the Trump goons.
Anyhow, once the main attraction was announced things went sort of as planned. He demonstrated that he has a nasty case of ADD and his topics bounced all over the place and back again. It was worth a smile. He spoke for about 30 minutes then turned to his microphone ushers to get the mics to the people asking questions. Hands went up all over the room…but the only two questions asked where from the front row and were planned questions from the VIP section. The ushers were behind the fence protecting himself and didn’t have the ability to go any further around the room. It was a rather sad staged event. At one point in the show, Donald asked for everyone who was planning on voting for him to raise their hand…perhaps 25% of the audience did so…he quickly moved on. The final event was his announcing that his daughter Ivanka had come to New Hampshire to see the good people of the state. This is the daughter who when he was on The View he said if she wasn’t his daughter, he would “date” her. Ivanka’s husband, Jared, was introduced as well. Ivanka has changed a bit since I met her when she was a student at Choate School in Connecticut back in 1998. Quite pregnant with her third child, she made a gracious endorsement of her dad.