MANCHESTER, NH – Shortly before Donald Trump went to the phones for a “tele-rally” on Thursday night some of his supporters sought to show their support of the president on Elm Street as well.
In a rally in front of Manchester City Hall, a combination of signs supporting Trump and support of the police co-mingled with others attacking the Police Defunding movement.
“I can’t believe that Democrats want to defund the police, I can’t believe some of the comments that (Joe) Biden has made about funding for police or that police shouldn’t have military equipment,” said Bob Callaghan, an attendee of the rally who is seeking the Republican nomination for Sheriff in Strafford County. “Over the past ten years or more, police are trained to go into active shooter situations, they don’t wait for SWAT Teams. They have ballistic shields in their car and they respond to eliminate shooters immediately. If Biden’s stuff gets through, they won’t have that type of equipment.”
Retired police officer Jim Gaudet actually came to the event solely in support of the police, noting that the support of Trump was a happy coincidence.
For Gaudet, the main point of contention wasn’t Biden, but Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig, who he believes does not support police enough.
“I want to know why the mayor isn’t here showing her support for the police,” he said. “She has a fantastic accredited department who do a great job in spite of restrictions and handcuffing (of police). Bail is a joke in this state. I think she and some of the people on the Board of Aldermen should have been here.”
While everyone in the crowd supported Trump and funding police departments, the impetus that drew attendees was not uniform.
Chau Kelly of Hooksett was one of several people in the crowd holding flags indicating that Trump has been a supporter of Vietnamese Americans.
According to Kelly, several people she knew in the crowd had been interred in POW camps by the Vietnamese government, something that has colored her view on Communism as well as her opposition to the Democratic Party.
“We are anti-Communist people, we know what Communism is and right now Democrats are pushing for Communism in this country,” said Kelly. “They don’t know what Communism is all about. They should talk to people like us.”
The event was put organized quickly, with New Hampshire Trump Campaign Co-Chair State Representative Al Baldasaro (R-Londonderry) learning about it only yesterday.
For Baldasaro, the event’s dual themes of funding police departments and supporting Trump stem from what he sees as Trump’s support for first responders across the country.
“This was such a short notice putting this together,” he said. “You look at all the enthusiasm here in support of the police.”