- The Washington Times - Friday, January 29, 2016

NASHUA, New Hampshire — Less than 12 hours after Donald Trump closed out a rally for military veterans in Iowa, the New York businessman is scheduled to parachute into New Hampshire, where voters started lining hours before a campaign event and praised his decision to skip last night’s debate.

Steve Allison, 53, an Air Force veteran, said he and his wife-to-be Kelly Wemberly, 51, a register nurse, watched the Trump rally in Des Moines after he got home from working the second shift as a maintenance mechanic.

Mr. Allison said they went to sleep around 2 a.m. and climbed out of bed three hours later to make the 20-minute drive from Manchester to make sure that they were here in time to get into the 10 a.m. event.

“I think it was the best thing he could do,” Mr. Allison said of Mr. Trump’s decision to skip the Fox debate in favor of holding an event for veterans. The event featured appearances from the past two winners of the Iowa caucuses — former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.

“I thought it was above all the politics going on,” he said. “People are tired of the status quo, of do-nothing establishment.”

Further down the line, Joe Salvalzo, a 49-year-old Air Force veteran and engineer at a local defense company, said he donated $100 to Mr. Trump’s effort.

“Everything Donald does for the veterans is good in my book — especially last night,” he said, adding that Mr. Trump had nothing to lose by skipping the Fox debate because he is the GOP front-runner.

“I thought it was great that he supported vets,” Mr. Salvalzo said.

Mr. Trump is leading polls in Iowa, where the first binding votes will be cast in Monday’s caucuses, and here in New Hampshire, which hosts the first-in-the-nation primary on Feb. 9.

At the vets event, Mr. Trump said he raised $6 million for the cause.

Darlene Bellam, an artist from Hollis, also celebrated Mr. Trump’s boycott of the Fox debate, saying he has regularly defied the critics.

“It just seems that everything negative he has done has a positive reaction,” said Mrs. Bellam, 54. “It does. He can fall in poop and come out smelling like a rose.”

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