MANCHESTER, N.H. — President Trump on Monday said he’s hearing that Republicans could cross over and vote in the Democratic presidential primary in New Hampshire for the “weakest” candidate.
“I hear a lot of Republicans tomorrow will vote for the weakest candidate possible of the Democrats - does that make sense? You people wouldn’t do that,” Mr. Trump said as he rallied here before thousands of cheering supporters a day out from the New Hampshire primaries.
He said, though, the issue is that “they’re all weak.”
“We proudly welcome and embrace voters of all parties and political persuasions who want to join our mission, a very simple mission, remember? Make America Great Again,” he said. “You can vote for the weakest candidate, if you want.”
“They don’t know what they’re doing - they can’t even count their votes,” he said, referring to last week’s botched Iowa caucuses.
The president came within a whisker of defeating Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire in 2016, though a Republican presidential candidate hasn’t carried the state since 2000.
SEE ALSO: Donald Trump mocks botched Iowa caucuses at New Hampshire rally
“You have some pretty strange election laws here, right? Remember last time, we won the primary tremendously,” he said. “We should have won the [general] election … but they had buses being shipped up from Massachusetts. Now you get prosecuted if you do what they did.”
“But we have done great, this has been an incredible state for us. Just great people. And we hear that they’re good because you have crossovers in primaries, don’t you?” he said.
Before he spoke, the crowd serenaded the president with chants of “USA! USA!”
“We have more in this arena and outside of this arena than all of the other candidates, meaning the Democrats, put together and multiplied times five,” he said.
There is a Republican primary in the Granite State on Tuesday, but Mr. Trump’s victory is all but assured. His most prominent competitor is former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld, after former Rep. Joe Walsh ended his long-shot primary challenge to the president on Friday.
Unaffiliated voters in New Hampshire can vote in either party’s primary. Conservative writer Bill Kristol is helping push an effort to get independent voters in New Hampshire to vote for a “responsible” Democratic candidate to take on Mr. Trump.
Supporters of the president said they saw the election-eve rally as a way to mess with the Democrats ahead of a make-or-break primary for much of the 2020 field.
“They don’t know what to do with him. He’s driving ‘em crazy. Every single thing they try, he just comes out smelling like roses,” said Michael Griffin, a 57-year-old fraud investigator from East Bridgewater, Mass.
“This guy could sell ice to Eskimos,” he said of the president. “I watch him sometimes and I’m just in total awe.”
• Dave Boyer reported from Washington.