Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images
Donald Trump won the New Hampshire primary over Nikki Haley by 11 percentage points on Tuesday night, which probably means he’s going to be the Republican presidential nominee. So you might think that Trump would deliver a speech urging Republicans to unify as they shift their attention to defeating Joe Biden in the general election.
But sticking to a rational political strategy is not Trump’s forte. After his Iowa caucus win last week, Trump did urge Americans across the political spectrum to “come together” (before the speech devolved into his usual rants and lies). But at the start of his remarks in New Hampshire he warned everyone that he wasn’t even going to attempt to be gracious, saying, “This is not your typical victory speech.”
Indeed, the mendacious and vindictive 20-minute tirade that followed was typical for Trump, but in no way a normal victory speech. Rather than acting like Haley is a nonentity and focusing on Biden, he went after her again and again. Here are the wackiest things Trump said.
Trump started out by explaining that New Hampshire is a “fantastic state” because he always wins there.
“You know we won New Hampshire three times now — three. We win it every time. We win the primary. We win the generals. We won it and it’s a very, very special place to me,” Trump said.
In reality, while Trump won the primary there in 2016 and 2020, he lost the state in both general elections. But if we’re being generous we can file this falsehood under foreshadowing because …
Trump clearly does not remember, or care, about his actual track record in New Hampshire. But he was incensed that Haley, his only remaining GOP opponent, did not emphasize the fact that he beat her in her Tuesday night speech. He complained repeatedly that Haley was “doing like a speech like she won,” though “she didn’t win, she lost.”
Unlike Trump, Haley didn’t lie in her remarks. She even congratulated Trump on his win. But her tone was generally positive, she criticized Trump, and she said that despite grim predictions for the future of her campaign, “This race is far from over.”
Just in case his shaming doesn’t convince Haley to quit the race, Trump also threw in a light threat. He said that Haley is “not gonna win, but if she did, she would be under investigation by those people in 15 minutes.” This could have been construed as an attack on the Democrats or the “Deep State,” not Haley. But then Trump suggested his opponents would have good reason to go after her. “I could tell you five reasons why, already,” he said. “Not big reasons, a little stuff that she doesn’t want to talk about.”
“I find in life you can’t let people get away with bullshit,” Trump said, in an attempt to explain his anger over Haley putting a positive spin on her loss. Honestly, it’s a good line — but he followed it up with a weird remark that could be seen as a dig at America’s Maxxinistas.
Trump also attacked Haley supporter Chris Sununu, saying the New Hampshire governor has “gotta be on something.”
Trump was joined onstage by former GOP presidential candidates Vivek Ramaswamy and Tim Scott, who have both endorsed him. He gave the former “one minute or less” to address the crowd; Ramaswamy happily used his time to take some shots at Biden and his old foe Haley.
Then Trump marveled again at the fact that Scott just got engaged and tried to stir up some drama between him and Haley, who are both from South Carolina. Trump made sure everyone was aware of the awkward dynamic between the two: In 2012, when Haley was governor, she appointed then-Congressman Scott to fill an empty Senate seat.
“I mean, did you ever think that — she actually appointed you, Tim,” Trump said. “And you’re the senator of her state. And [you] endorsed me. You must really hate her.”
Scott defused the uncomfortable moment by groveling to Trump, “I just love you!”
“I don’t get too angry, I get even,” Trump remarked. Was he purposely referencing “Vigilante Shit“? Probably not. But this speech does indicate that much like Swift, lately Trump’s “been dressing for revenge” — but maybe not a successful general-election campaign.
Here’s Trump’s full New Hampshire speech: