Former President Donald J. Trump, on a day set aside to celebrate those who defended the United States in uniform, promised to honor veterans by addressing some of what he described as America’s greatest enemy: the political left.
Using inflammatory and dehumanizing language to refer to his opponents, Mr. Trump pledged to “root out” what he called “the radical left thugs who live like vermin within the confines of our country.”
“The threat from outside forces is far less sinister, dangerous and serious than the threat from within,” Trump said Saturday during a nearly two-hour Veterans Day speech in Claremont, New Hampshire.
Mr. Trump accused Democrats and President Biden of trying to roll back his efforts to expand veterans’ access to health care, causing rampant inflation, pushing the country to the brink of World War III , endangering troops in Afghanistan and lying and rigging elections.
He also promised to take care of America’s veterans, repeating a hyperbolic claim he made throughout his 2016 campaign that Democrats “treat illegal aliens who have just flooded into our country better than they do.” They don’t treat our veterans.”
And he said he would divert money currently intended “for the housing and transportation of illegal aliens” to provide shelter and treatment for homeless veterans.
Here are some of the most notable elements of Mr. Trump’s Veterans Day speech.
Mr. Trump, who faces a civil fraud trial in New York and four criminal charges, said in a radio interview earlier this week that he would welcome cameras in the courtroom. He went further on Saturday.
“I want this trial to be seen by everyone,” Mr. Trump told a cheering crowd, referring to his federal election trial in Washington. “The prosecution wants to pursue this travesty in the dark, and I want the sunlight.”
Mr. Trump, who has denounced the prosecution he faces as politically motivated and accused Mr. Biden of weaponizing the Justice Department, said he was confident that Americans who watched the trial would share his point of view.
“Every person in America and beyond should have the opportunity to study this case for themselves,” he said.
Mr. Trump’s remarks came the day after his lawyers filed the case. arguing papers these debates should be televised, supporting a similar initiative by other media organizations.
It was a rare instance of the former president finding common ground with the mainstream media, which Mr. Trump attacked repeatedly on Saturday.
As he has before, Mr. Trump again called for the execution of drug traffickers, praising China for making drug trafficking a crime punishable by death. But in New Hampshire, a state where the opioid crisis has hit particularly hard, he turned to informal polling to bolster his arguments.
“Let’s vote,” Mr. Trump told the crowd. “Who would be in favor of the death penalty – now, wait, don’t go there yet – knowing that it will solve the problem?”
A majority of the crowd raised their hands.
Fewer hands were raised when Mr. Trump asked who would oppose such a move. When a woman raised her hand insistently, Mr. Trump looked at her with a small smile and asked, “Are you a liberal?”
She shook her head wildly to say otherwise.
Mr. Trump also repeated the falsehoods, lies, exaggerations and half-truths that he has regularly told on a number of topics, including gas priceWE energy independencevoter fraud and the 2020 elections.
“I am a very proud election denier,” Mr. Trump said.
Mr Trump had previously refrained from commenting on persistent rumors that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis wore heels in his cowboy boots – the subject of late-night jokes and social media gossip. But on Saturday, he finally couldn’t resist.
After mocking Mr. DeSantis for courting Iowa farmers, Mr. Trump offered an aside: “By the way, I don’t wear elevators either. I don’t have six inch heels! The comment echoed an insult from Vivek Ramaswamy during Wednesday’s debate, during which the entrepreneur and author attacked the Florida governor.
He then did a clownish imitation of Mr. DeSantis leaving the stage during Wednesday night’s debate, which seemed lifted from Monty Python’s Ministry of Silly Walks. “I thought he was wearing ice skates,” Mr. Trump joked.
Mr. Trump also derided Gov. Chris Sununu of New Hampshire, a Republican who said Mr. Trump could not win next year; Nancy Pelosi, the former Democratic Speaker of the House of Representatives; Hillary Clinton, his 2016 opponent; and Mr. Biden.
Mr. Trump congratulated Dana White, president of the Ultimate Fighting Championship. “There’s one guy I’d like to make my chief of defense,” he said. “I wouldn’t call him my defensive leader, I would call him my offensive leader.”
And he praised Chinese President Xi Jinping, of whom he said: “He’s like Central Casting. No one in Hollywood can play President Xi – the looks, the strength, the voice.”