Trump, DeSantis to hold dueling campaign events in New Hampshire after squabbling over timing

HOLLIS, NH (AP) — Former President Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis will hold dueling campaign events Tuesday in New Hampshire after some bickering over the close timing of appearances.

DeSantis, who released a proposed immigration and border security policy on Monday, was scheduled to appear at a town hall event in Hollis, while Trump, the GOP’s leading presidential candidate, was scheduled to speak at the of a lunch in Concord organized by a club of republican women. and attend the opening of his campaign’s state office in Manchester.

The New Hampshire Republican Women’s Federation, which hosts Trump, released a statement last week saying it was disappointed with the DeSantis campaign for scheduling a town hall around the same time as his own event – at 40 miles (64 kilometers) and a couple of hours before.

The group called it an “attempt to distract” from the organization’s sold-out “Lilac Luncheon” fundraiser and said other presidential candidates had planned around the event. He also said he asked DeSantis to reschedule, apparently to no avail.

Two members of the women’s group, however, posted on Twitter that they disagreed with the statement. One, former state legislator Melissa Blasek, said she was resigning her membership in the group for what she called “a cheap campaign stunt” that appeared to be motivated by the Trump campaign, who sent out his own press release sharing the statement.

When asked to comment on the statement, the DeSantis campaign did not address the issue, but said the governor is working to ensure his message “reaches every last primary voter in New Hampshire, and we we have a top notch organization in the state to help him do this.

“We’re confident the Governor’s message will resonate with New Hampshire voters as he continues to tour the Granite State and detail his solutions to Joe Biden’s failures,” campaign press secretary Bryan Griffin said. , in a press release.

Since launching his campaign last month, DeSantis has largely sought to project himself as more conservative than the former president in a bid to dethrone him as the party’s dominant figure. The governor claimed he would appoint more conservative justices to the Supreme Court than the three Trump appointees to the court, slammed Trump for suggesting Florida’s six-week abortion ban was ‘too harsh’ and accused Trump of generally “moving to the left.”

While conservative good faith is important in heavily GOP states like Iowa, the premier caucus state, it is politically trickier in New Hampshire, a political battleground state.

Trump’s first-place finish in New Hampshire’s 2016 Republican primary – after losing Iowa to Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas – helped him dominate the party. But his Democratic rivals ended up winning the state in the 2016 and 2020 general elections.

And while DeSantis has talked about the abortion ban he signed on the campaign trail to conservative audiences and in Iowa and South Carolina, he generally hasn’t raised it when he addressed crowds in more subdued New Hampshire.

On Monday, DeSantis held a campaign event in the Texas border town of Eagle Pass to unveil his first major policy plan, a proposal on immigration and border security that calls for an end to birthright citizenship. , complete the US-Mexico wall and send US forces into Mexico. to fight drug cartels. The plan largely mirrors Trump’s policies and faces long odds, requiring the reversal of legal precedents, the approval of other countries or even an amendment to the US Constitution.

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