October 30, 2016

In Albuquerque, Trump promises he will win New Mexico

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Matthew Reichbach

Donald Trump exiting the plane before a campaign rally in Albuquerque.

Donald Trump has lagged in support behind Hillary Clinton in New Mexico in all public polls this election season.

But the boisterous Republican presidential nominee promised a crowd of roughly 2,500 people he would win the state. The crowd gathered Sunday to hear Trump speak in an airplane hanger just outside of the Albuquerque International Sunport.

Related: Small protests greet Trump

“We’re tied—that’s not so good—we’re tied in New Mexico,” Trump told the crowd, echoing a statement last week from one of his campaign advisors on WABC, a New York radio station. “We’re going to win New Mexico. Traditional Republicans are not quite there yet, but this is a Republican who is there and we’re going to win this state.”

The last-minute rally, which marked Trump’s second campaign visit to New Mexico this year, brought less drama then his May visit to Albuquerque, save for Trump’s entrance. Just before getting on the stage, the private jet bearing Trump’s name parked behind the stage to wild cheers from the crowd.

Throughout his nearly one-hour speech, Trump reiterated the familiar promises that have defined his campaign—building a wall between the United States and Mexico while making Mexico pay for it, ending international trade deals and reopening closed factories, repealing and replacing Obamacare and strengthening the country’s military and law enforcement officers, among others.

“We have tremendous deficits with Mexico, they will be happy to pay for the wall,” Trump said. “They’ve got everything. You know what we have? Drugs and unemployment.”

And, of course, Trump brought up the Clinton email scandal, reinvigorated late last week by FBI Director James Comey’s announcement to a congressional committee that his agency recently encountered emails related to the investigation of Clinton.

Most recently, the Wall Street Journal reported that the FBI discovered 650,000 emails on the laptop of Clinton aide Huma Abedin.

“How do you have that many emails?” Trump asked. “Do you just sit down and type all day?”

In his characteristic style, Trump also veered off topic, pondering out loud about how the chant “Drain the swamp” became so popular recently at his rallies.

The phrase refers to Trump’s supporters’ desire to drive Washington D.C. elites out of town.

At first, Trump explained that the chant came off as “hokey” to him. But then he compared it to Frank Sinatra’s seminal song, “My Way,” mentioning that Sinatra didn’t like the song until it became popular “and all the sudden he loved it.”

Trump also talked about his visit to the opening of one of his company’s hotels in Washington D.C. last week. Some political pundits criticized the move, noting it had nothing to do with his campaign and was held outside of swing states. Washington D.C. has three electoral votes, but has never voted for a Republican since getting electoral votes in 1964.

“I was there for two seconds,” Trump said.

Trump argued that the hotel is an example of how well he’ll do as president.

“It’s going to be one of the great hotels,” he said. “We built it under budget and ahead of schedule.”

Unlike Trump’s previous Albuquerque rally in May, protesters only interrupted him once and were quickly escorted away. The protesters held up a sign that said “No DAPL,” referring to the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline. Native Americans and others have protested the pipeline, and the gatherings have resulted in police using pepper spray and beanbag guns against protesters.

At the previous rally, protesters interrupted Trump at least six times. And outside of that rally, some protesters vandalized public property and pelted rocks at police officers.

Protesters outside of Sunday night’s rally did sound off a siren throughout most of his speech.

“Is that an alarm going on?” Trump said at one point. “That’s alright, let it go on all night if it has to. They’ll figure out how to turn it off.”

New Mexico Democrats denounced Trump’s visit.

“Republicans are desperate and all they have to show for their work is a visit from a candidate who has divided our country and pushes the extreme Republican agenda,” state Democratic Party Chairwoman Debra Haaland said in a statement.