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Trump to rally supporters on eve of expected New Hampshire triumph

Trump breaks silence on Navalny death, says US 'in decline'
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Donald Trump was set to hold a final rally Monday in New Hampshire on the eve of the primary where polls show him likely to trounce the sole remaining challenger, Nikki Haley, for the Republican presidential nomination.

Trump spent the first part of the day in New York where he’d been planning to attend his sexual assault defamation trial — part of a strategy of embracing the scandal swirling around him. However, with one juror reporting sickness, the trial was postponed.

The New Hampshire primary is seen as the last, best chance for Haley to stop Trump.

Despite being twice impeached as president and now facing four criminal cases, he has succeeded in imposing his far-right brand on the entire Republican party.

A new Washington Post/Monmouth poll Monday showed Trump, 77, backed by 52 percent in New Hampshire to Haley’s 34 percent.

“I’m in for Trump all the time,” said Tony Ferrantello, 72, a retired architect from Keene, New Hampshire who predicted that Trump would win by a “landslide” on Tuesday.

“The thing with him is leadership and strength — basically not thinking of himself so much as for the country.”

Haley, a former South Carolina governor, is the sole challenger after Florida Governor Ron DeSantis dropped out over the weekend. But unless she pulls off a political miracle, Trump is seen as likely to repeat his domination in the first contest in Iowa, then cruise through the remaining primaries to become the nominee to face President Joe Biden in November.

He was due to hold one of his signature “Make America Great Again” rallies in Laconia, New Hampshire, at 9:00 pm (0200 GMT).

The plan to begin the day by attending the defamation trial — and possibly taking the witness stand — highlighted Trump’s strategy of attempting to transform his legal morass into a political grandstand.

That message resonates with hard-core Republican right-wingers, the key to winning the Republican nomination.

The postponed New York civil trial features E. Jean Carroll, a successful writer, seeking more than $10 million in damages for defamation by Trump, whom another New York civil jury found liable for sexual assault against her.

Trump separately faces serious criminal prosecutions, including over his alleged attempt to overthrow the results of the 2020 election in which he lost to Biden.


– Haley attacks Trump –


Haley, who served as UN ambassador under Trump, has turned on her old boss sharply in the last few days, pointing to a series of bizarre stumbles and gaffes during his speeches as a sign that he is losing mental competence.

“He’s just not at the same level he was at 2016. I think we’re seeing some of that decline,” she told CBS.

She is also hoping to benefit from the large number of less-partisan voters in New Hampshire, rather than the more heavily conservative Republican base in Iowa.

But with DeSantis out and endorsing Trump, the march of the scandal-plagued businessman and former president looks increasingly unstoppable.

“Big Polls out of New Hampshire. Birdbrain is way down, I am way up,” Trump wrote on his Truth Social platform using his nickname for Haley.

As Trump builds momentum towards his nomination, Democratic President Joe Biden who will seek re-election in November will hold a major rally in Virginia on primary day. He is expected to push abortion rights which his party hope will be a significant vote-winner.

Trump branded Haley a “globalist” over the weekend — a potent barb for the isolationist, nationalist far-right that he has encouraged during his tumultuous rise to the top of Republican politics.

If Haley over-performs on Tuesday, that could see her regain buzz in time for the next primary in her home state of South Carolina in late February.

Trump, however, may well be on his way to something of a coronation by then, with “Super Tuesday” on March 5. With 874 delegates are on the table, it can get a candidate 75 percent towards the nomination.

Aides expect Trump to be in a position to close out the race a week later and want it in the bag by April.

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Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency.

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