MANCHESTER — A return visit to New Hampshire by President Donald Trump had been long rumored. It's happening in two days.
The Trump campaign has announced that the president will hold a "Keep America Great" rally at the SNHU Arena in Manchester on Thursday. The event will begin at 7 p.m., with doors opening three hours earlier.
It will be Trump's first visit to the state since March 2018, when he made an official visit to Manchester Community College to unveil a plan to combat the state's opioid crisis. In that speech, he called for the death penalty for drug traffickers.
Trump's last campaign visit to the state came the night before the 2016 general election, when he spoke to an estimated crowd of nearly 12,000 at the same arena in downtown Manchester.
“The Trump economy continues to soar with New Hampshire having one of the lowest unemployment rates in the entire nation and paychecks continuing to grow,” Michael Glassner, chief operating officer of the Trump campaign, said in a statement.
“President Trump looks forward to returning to the Granite State to speak directly to the men and women working to keep America great alongside him.”
"We are extremely excited that the president is coming to New Hampshire," state Republican Party Chair Stephen Stepanek said. "He'll fire up the base, and we're just ecstatic about it.
"The people who supported him in 2016 will come through for him again in 2020."
Stepanek, who was a co-chair of Trump's New Hampshire campaign three years ago, predicted, "This will be the first of many trips he will make to New Hampshire. Our state is important to the president because it is where he got his very first win."
Trump won the 2016 New Hampshire first-in-the-nation primary in a landslide, more than doubling the vote of the second-place finisher, former Ohio Gov. John Kasich. But he narrowly lost the state's four electoral votes in the general election, finishing with about 2,700 fewer votes than Democrat Hillary Clinton out of about 750,000 votes cast.
Former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, a Windham resident, told WMUR: "It will be great to have President Trump back to New Hampshire to highlight his record of economic success for our nation. Our economy is stronger than ever thanks to the policies of this administration."
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Gov. Chris Sununu said, "The governor looks forward to welcoming the president to New Hampshire."