Trump promises ‘change you’ve been waiting for’ in N.H.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump spoke at a rally in Atkinson, N.H., Friday.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump spoke at a rally in Atkinson, N.H., Friday. John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

ATKINSON, N.H. — With four days to go and four Electoral College votes at stake, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump returned to New Hampshire on Friday, revving up a raucous crowd by criticizing his rival Hillary Clinton and stressing familiar themes.

“What a mess! How can Hillary manage this country when she can’t even manage her e-mails?” Trump asked at a stop at a country club near the Massachusetts line. “All she had to do was follow the rules. She’ll be under investigation for years.”

Trump called for strengthening the country’s borders, restoring the economy, and eradicating the opioid epidemic.

Clinton, meanwhile, spent her day in Detroit, Pittsburgh, and Cleveland, making an explicit appeal to the minority voters who are critical to her success. In Cleveland, she hammered Trump as ‘‘someone who demeans women, mocks people with disabilities, insults African-Americans and Latinos, and demonizes immigrants and Muslims.’’


‘‘If he doesn’t respect all Americans now, how can we trust him to serve all Americans in the future?’’ she asked later in Detroit, where minorities make up 90 percent of the population.

Clinton’s high-level surrogates also took her message to other battleground states Friday.

In Fayetteville, N.C., President Obama underscored that message: ‘‘If you disrespected women before you were in office, then you will disrespect women once you take office. If you accepted the support of Klan sympathizers, if you don’t denounce them right away because you’re not sure, well that’s what you’re gonna do once you’re in office,’’ Obama said.

But even as Clinton focused Friday on urban centers, both campaigns have made clear how important New Hampshire is to their efforts. Clinton will return to the state on Sunday; Trump will return Monday night.

“This is where it all began, New Hampshire,” Trump said Friday, referring to his victory in the GOP primary nine long months ago. “This was our first victory.”


Trump hopes the state will help carry him to the White House on Tuesday, as the race has narrowed in the final days of the election. In New Hampshire, the race is a virtual dead heat, according to recent polls.

Both campaigns also have high-level supporters making stops across the state over the weekend. Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts will campaign for Clinton in Rochester and Concord, N.H., on Saturday. Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence will hold a rally in Windham on Sunday. Obama is scheduled to campaign for Clinton in the state Monday.

One Trump surrogate who won’t be coming: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who, according to a source within the campaign, canceled a plan to campaign in the state Saturday.

On Friday, two of Christie’s former allies were convicted in a plot to close access lanes to the George Washington Bridge to punish a mayor who wouldn’t endorse Christie. Bridget Kelly and Bill Baroni both testified under oath that Christie was aware of the plot.

On Friday, at the country club in Atkinson, Trump focused on drug abuse and immigration.

“We’re going to keep the poison out. You know what that is, the drugs,” he told the crowd. “We have a one-way highway right into Mexico and these other places. They take our jobs. They take our money. They take our cash. And you know what we get out of it? Drugs and unemployment.”


New Hampshire, he said, is where he first learned about the opioid epidemic, a public health crisis throughout New England and much of the country. Much of the heroin, he said, “comes from the southern border.”

Under a Trump administration, the drugs will stop flowing into the country and those who are addicted will get help, he said.

He also promised to stem the loss of manufacturing jobs by renegotiating — or eliminating — trade deals with other countries. Trump, whose campaign has been driven in part by economic anxiety, regularly decries the number of Americans cut out of the labor force. “We are living through the greatest jobs theft in the history of the world,” he said Friday.

“When you see the rusted-out factories and empty buildings, just remember this: Hillary Clinton’s policies and others like her — her friends — did this to us, all of us,” he said, naming New Hampshire companies that laid off workers and relocated to other countries. “A Trump administration will stop the jobs from leaving. Believe me.”

The crowd of about 1,000 waved Trump campaign signs and shouted familiar slogans as the New York businessman and his surrogates spoke.

“Drain the swamp!” they yelled when Trump talked about eliminating “the entire corrupt Washington establishment.”

“Lock her up!” and “Put her in jail!” they yelled when Trump talked of the ongoing federal investigation into Clinton’s e-mails and her use of a private server as secretary of state.

The Justice Department investigated Clinton’s handling of classified information and closed the inquiry without charges this summer at the FBI’s recommendation. But last week, FBI Director James Comey sent a letter to Congress saying the agency was looking into e-mails in an unrelated case that could be related to the server scandal.


The news gave Trump a bump in the polls, renewing doubts among some voters about Clinton’s trustworthiness. According to a Suffolk University/Boston Globe poll conducted Monday through Wednesday, Clinton and Trump are now tied in New Hampshire at 42 percent each.

Trump’s campaign pounced, using Comey’s letter to fuel the argument that Clinton, as Trump himself has said, has committed a “criminal action.’’ On Friday, he alleged that she perjured herself before Congress in written testimony about the use of a private server.

He also made a dig at Obama, who has been campaigning for Clinton. “He ought to be in the White House working and getting our jobs back and building up our military, and creating some semblance of a border,” Trump said.

Most urgently, Trump encouraged supporters to get to the polls Tuesday.

“We’re four days away from the change you’ve been waiting for your entire life,” he said. “I’m ready.”

Material from the Associated Press was included in this report. Akilah Johnson can be reached at akilah.johnson@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @akjohnson1922.