HOLDERNESS, N.H. — Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump on Sunday spoke to thousands of his supporters at a New Hampshire university.
“I have no friends as far as I’m concerned,” said Trump during a campaign event at Plymouth State University, referring to claims that he has self-funded his campaign. “The only friends I have are you guys.”
Trump told his supporters that “we are living in medieval times” in an apparent reference to Islamic terrorists.
At least one person who the Washington Blade saw was wearing a button that read, “let’s bomb the hell out of ISIS.”
Trump himself referenced James Foley, a journalist from New Hampshire who was beheaded in Syria in 2014 by members of the Sunni militant group. The billionaire also noted the question about waterboarding that came up at Saturday’s Republican presidential debate at St. Anselm College in Manchester.
“Now they chop your head off,” said Trump. “Waterboarding’s peanuts compared to what they’re doing.”
A man in the crowd shouted his support to Trump after he made the comment.
“We don’t want to be politically correct, says the man who’s wearing the red hat saying, “make America great again,” said Trump.
Trump in his speech also spoke against high prescription drug prices and Common Core, a set of national education standards that he described as a “complete disaster.” Trump also reiterated his call for the Mexican government to pay for a border fence to stop undocumented immigrants from entering the U.S.
“They are paying for the wall,” said Trump.
Protesters gather outside campaign event
Security personnel removed a protester who had slogans written onto his body that described Trump as a “racist.” Several others were gathered outside the building as the billionaire’s motorcade arrived.
Plymouth residents Mary Francis Drake and Marcia Moore held signs that read “No H8” and “islamophobia is un-American.” A group of Plymouth State University students also protested Trump.
“A lot of his rhetoric is espousing fear and hatred and separation and bigotry and things that are against all of the values that I hold,” Drake told the Blade.
Fran Taylor of Holderness is a member of the Plymouth Congregational Church, which has a married gay pastor. The Plymouth Congregational Church in 1992 became the first “open and affirming” United Church of Christ congregation in New Hampshire for gays and lesbians.
Taylor on Sunday was having coffee with a handful of her congregants at a coffee shop in downtown Plymouth, which is directly across the Pemigewasset River from where the Trump event took place. The former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton supporter was concise with her criticism of the Republican frontrunner.
“He’s a very nasty man,” said Taylor.
The University of New Hampshire Survey Center on Sunday released a poll that shows Trump ahead of U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) by a 33-16 percent margin.
A crossdresser with whom the Blade spoke on Saturday at a gay bar in Manchester said that Trump “thinks the same way I do.” Drake said the billionaire is exploiting anger among New Hampshire voters, especially those who live in rural areas and are socio-economically disadvantaged.
“Anger is a way that people feel powerful,” she told the Blade. “They feel like he’s going to do something.”
“He has no platform,” added Drake. “He hasn’t said anything about what he’s going to do.”