Aug. 13--MANCHESTER -- As President Trump's much-anticipated return to New Hampshire nears, state Democratic leaders accused him Tuesday of breaking key promises on improving health insurance while liberal activists tried to put pressure on sponsors of the SNHU Arena where he is to speak.
Democratic Party Chairman Raymond Buckley said candidate Trump in 2016 had vowed to deliver cheaper, better health insurance.
"Trump came to this community -- to Concord, New Hampshire -- during his last campaign for President and made a promise. He said his plan would provide 'much less expensive, much better health care.' But as President, Trump immediately broke his promises, and began a consistent assault on our health care system," Buckley said at a news conference in the Legislative Office Building.
"He failed to deliver better, more affordable health care as he promised and instead made things worse. Trump's policies are giving insurance companies and drug manufacturers sky-high profits but at the expense of the rest of us. He's tried to repeal the Affordable Care Act which would kick thousands of Granite Staters off their health care. He's broken promise after promise and next year, we have a chance to say enough is enough by electing a Democrat to the White House."
A spokesman for the Republican National Committee did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday afternoon.
Trump sent out an email to supporters mocking his Democratic rivals and their relentless attacks against him.
"Crazy Bernie, Sleepy Joe, and the rest of the 2020 Democrats are so out of touch with the American people that they've now fully aligned their views with the RADICAL SOCIALIST SQUAD, a group that truly doesn't want America to succeed," Trump wrote to his followers.
"The Democrats' constant personal attacks, vicious lies, and hateful commentary about our great country have never had anything to do with me ... their goal has always been to silence YOU. The idea of you running our country TERRIFIES them."
Trump called President Obama's ACA a "disaster" that has caused many Americans to lose their primary care physician and forced them to buy more expensive, bureaucratic coverage.
After the 2016 election, he did convince the GOP Congress at the time to repeal the individual mandate that all Americans had to have insurance or pay a tax penalty every year.
Buckley was surrounded by party volunteers holding "Dump Trump" signs. Rep. Diane Langley, D-Manchester, spoke about constituents with pre-existing conditions who are paying more out of pocket for health care since Trump's election.
Meanwhile, Maggie Fogarty with the American Friends Service Committee took to social media this week urging like-minded liberal activists and Trump opponents to flood the arena management with phone calls, as well the arena's sponsors -- Digital Federal Credit Union, Coca-Cola, Auto Fair and Southern New Hampshire University.
"We can't stop him from coming, but we can let the SNHU Arena know that New Hampshire people do not want Trump's message of racism and violence in our communities," Maggie Fogarty wrote on Facebook. "Call the SNHU Arena and any of their sponsors."'
As of late Tuesday afternoon there were only three responses to Fogarty's post on Facebook, including one from a reporter seeking an interview.
Jason Perry of the SNHU Arena said his office has been receiving a "limited number" of calls, and added, "Being located in New Hampshire, the first-in-the-nation primary state, we expect this, as in the past we have hosted President Bush, then-Senator Obama, Secretary of State Clinton, among others."
Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig said residents in the state treasure the First Amendment and spelled out what she hoped Trump would talk about.
"I hope that the President will focus on areas that we can work together on rather than on issues that further divide us. There's many challenges we face that the President can assist with -- combating the opioid epidemic, more federal funding for road and transportation projects, increasing federal support for more affordable housing options, and stronger support for our public schools," said Craig, who is seeking her own reelection this fall to a second two-year term.
"Our city and our country are stronger when we work together. While in Manchester, I hope that the President takes the opportunity to demonstrate how he can be a collaborative partner and work with us to address challenges we all face instead of focusing on issues that continue to divide us," Craig added.
Former state representative and GOP leader Victoria Sullivan is running against Craig.
As many as 11,500 are expected for the 7 p.m. rally Thursday, which will be Trump's second visit to the state since the 2016 campaign.
Trump came to Manchester in March 2018 and advocated for the federal death penalty for drug dealers who cause customers to overdose and die.
During Trump's term in office, New Hampshire has received a dramatic increase in federal grants to fight the opioid epidemic -- in part the result of strong lobbying by the state's all-Democratic congressional delegation. New Hampshire has one of the highest overdose death tolls per capita.
In 2016, Trump cruised to an overwhelming rout in the first-in-the-nation primary here, which put him on the path to wrapping up the GOP nomination against a crowded, talented field of 16 candidates.
Trump narrowly lost New Hampshire's four electoral votes that November to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
Buckley said Trump needs to win here to get a second term.
"Later this week, President Trump will be holding a rally in Manchester because he knows that his path to 270 runs right through the middle of our great state," Buckley said.
"We know exactly what he'll do -- lie and confuse and say anything he can to try to distract from his own record of broken promises."
Democratic candidate Joe Biden's campaign announced plans for a counter-protest rally down the street from Trump's rally at the Portland Pie Co.; other protests are also in the works.