September 16, 2019

Trump rallies in Rio Rancho, vows to flip NM in 2020

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Andy Lyman

President Donald Trump speaking at a rally in Rio Rancho on Sept. 16, 2019.

President Donald Trump visited New Mexico Monday for the first time since he took office and he hit all the notes he usually does in his winding, 90-minute speech, including talk of building a wall between the U.S. and Mexico, attacking what he calls fake news and lambasting politicians he calls corrupt. 

Within minutes, a protester was removed from the event.

“Looks like someone’s going home to mommy,” Trump said of the protester. 

The president, as he often does at rallies, boasted about the number of his supporters who come out to see him speak. 

“We tried to get the biggest arena we could get, but it’s never big enough,” Trump added. 

The Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho, which holds 7,500 for concerts, was indeed full. 

According to news reports ahead of Trump’s visit, his campaign believes he can win New Mexico in 2020. 

Trump used the state’s oil and gas industry as an example of why he thinks Democrats’ Green New Deal will be bad for New Mexico. If the plan were to pass, he said, there would be no air travel or cows and families would be forced to stay at home. 

“They’ll call us the hermit nation, we’ll never be able to leave the house,” he said. 

When he wasn’t praising his own administration, Trump took aim at Democrats, although he didn’t call out any local Demcratic lawmakers by name. 

Related: As Trump speaks, Democrats rally miles away

“Democrats want us to be subservient,” he said. 

But he did take a shot at U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, who he has, in the past, called “Pochahontas” after she claimed Native American heritage. 

“I have more Indian blood than she does, and I have none,” Trump said of the top-tier Democratic presidential candidate. 

Multiple times throughout the night, Trump’s criticisms of the news media prompted most of the crowd to turn around towards the media enclosure and boo. The terms “fake news” was thrown around, both by crowd members and Trump himself.

“The Democrat Party and the press, the media, the lame stream media, they’re partners,” Trump said. “Now that’s called collusion folks.” 

When the second, and last protester, was ejected from the arena near the end of the event, Trump took another shot at the press, insinuating exaggerated reports about protests at his events. 

“Remember that when they say, “Massive protests at the Trump Rally,” he said. 

The event was a major shift from Trump’s first visit to New Mexico as a candidate in 2016 when a protest enveloped much of downtown Albuquerque and resulted in a riot. 

A handful of local politicos on hand at the rally. 

NM Political Report spotted former Albuquerque City Councilor Dan Lewis and Republican U.S. Senate hopeful Mick Rich in the crowd. A Hobbs, New Mexico police officer sang the National Anthem and former U.S. Representative and current state chair of the Republican Party Steve Pearce spoke to the crowd about how he felt looked down on after his time in the military because of anti-war protests. But, he said, he’s seen a shift in values. 

“This generation doesn’t make the same mistake my generation made,” Pearce said. “This generation thanks its veterans and thanks them for their service.”

Cibola County Sheriff Tony Mace spoke about his frustration with Democrats and what he sees as disrespect. 

“I’m tired of a government that does not follow the Constitution of the United States of America,” Mace said. “I’m tired of the Democrats who are against our Commander in Chief.”

He also noted that he was most recently named rogue sheriff, which was a reference to a term Lujan Grisham used to describe sheriffs across the state who said they would refuse to enforce a gun law the governor signed this year. 

The crowd also heard from Steve Cortes, a CNN contributor and member of Latinos for Trump. Cortes also called out the news media as counterintuitive to a productive Trump presidency. 

“The worst lie that the mainstream media has smeared this president with, is that he’s a racist,” Cortes said.