Trumpeting his cause

MILFORD – Starting around 4 p.m., they left their cars in remote lots in Amherst and Milford to board shuttle buses for the ride to Hampshire Hills Sports & Fitness Club.

Then they stood in enor­mous lines that snaked through the club’s parking lot.

They let Transportation Security Administration employees go through their wallets and pock­etbooks and let Secret Service agents scan their bodies.

They stood and waited in tight crowds on the tennis courts inside the club and listened as local politicians and campaign workers, followed by con­servative commentator Ann Coulter and former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown, warmed them up.

Finally, at around 7:30 Tuesday evening, the crowd – which eventually numbered about 2,800 ac­cording to Milford fire officials – got what they were waiting for: Donald Trump, who flew into New Hampshire after com­ing in second in the Iowa caucuses on Monday and one week before the New Hampshire primary.

The billionaire Repub­lican presidential can­didate from New York immediately lit into the press.

"I don’t like coming in second, but the media says I’m humiliated. I’m not humiliated. … They are the most dishonest people. … "They are the worst people ever," he said to deafening cheers. Friends who are reporters "tell me they can’t report the truth. "It takes guts to run for president, but we have to do it. There are so many things wrong."

Trump also jabbed at his Republican opponents, including Jeb Bush. "He spent $128 million," Trump said. "Wouldn’t it be better if he just threw it out the window?" Trump touted his role as a job creator and brought up the subject of immigration by saying an illegal immigrant "raped, sodomized and killed" a 65-yearold veteran. "If I didn’t talk about (immigration), no one would talk about it," he said. Trump mocked Barack Obama, saying the president called climate change our biggest problem, while he flies "Air Force 1, an old 747" to Hawaii on vacation, spewing carbon into the atmosphere. The crowd cheered when Trump said we should have Russia help with the fight against terrorism, and "let them beat the (expletive) out of ISIS!" Not everyone in Hampshire Hills was a Trump supporter, though.

On a shuttle bus from Cirtronics Corp., Earl Haight, a 71-year-old retired high-tech worker, said he "just wanted to hear what he had to say … and find out if he’s as brash in person as he is on TV." But the tennis courts were full of Trump supporters, as well, sporting "Make America Great Again" baseball caps and sweatshirts. One of them was Steve Schofield, of Lyndeborough, who said he likes Trump because "he’s not a politician. "He’s saying what everyone wants to say, but doesn’t dare."

Kathy Cleveland can be reached at 673-3100 or kcleveland@cabinet.com.