MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) — Donald Trump is just fine with eight candidates on the debate stage, and he wouldn’t mind if a few more disappear before the next one.
“We started off with 17, and one by one by one they’re disappearing,” Trump told a New Hampshire crowd on Wednesday morning. “It’s a beautiful thing to watch as they go out — I love it.”
Trump’s appearance in New Hampshire came less than 12 hours after he debated his Republican rivals on stage in Milwaukee. And he made sure voters knew it was a quick turnaround, telling the crowd he slept for just an hour and a half and called two of his sons on stage to say a few words.
Trump wasn’t the center of attention at the debate on Fox Business Network, but he did engage in a back-and-forth with Ohio Gov. John Kasich and called out Carly Fiorina for interrupting others.
He said his rivals will keep leaving the race as they fail to generate high polling numbers.
The other candidates have got “lots of problems, right? The biggest problem is they don’t get the votes, they don’t get the polling numbers,” Trump said.
Trump attracted a different crowd, to Wednesday morning’s Politics & Eggs event, a staple for presidential candidates in New Hampshire that typically draws only business professionals. But Trump’s speech also drew many of his supporters, creating the largest crowd in the program’s history and requiring organizers to move the event to a hotel in Manchester for more space.
He wasn’t modest about the size of the crowd.
“Anywhere I go in New Hampshire we have thousands and thousands of people, and I say it’s like a movement,” Trump said.
Rather than starting with a long speech, he spent most of his time answering questions from the crowd, promising to stop illegal immigration, bring back jobs from other countries and invest in the country’s infrastructure. Most, but not all, of the questions were friendly.
Asked about police militarization and violence against blacks by a black man, Trump deflected on the issue of race.
To some applause, he said, “I happen to think the police are not being treated properly in this country.”