Former President Donald Trump spoke to New Hampshire Republicans Saturday in his first appearance since announcing a run for president in 2024.

Speaking at Salem High School during the state GOP's annual meeting, Trump declared his support for New Hampshire and its first in the nation presidential primary, as someone who has won it twice.

"From the very beginning, I've strongly defended New Hampshire's first in the nation primary status. I have been your defender. I've refused to let any Republican – and there are some, you know who they are – even think about taking away that cherished status," Trump said.

Trump said the Democrats are trying to take away that status for no reason, and guaranteed he would not let it change.

"You're first, and you're going to remain first," Trump said.

Biden's Revenge?

He later said that President Joe Biden was taking revenge on New Hampshire for a fifth place finish in the 2020 presidential primary. The 2024 schedule laid out by the DNC Rules Committee moves South Carolina into the top slow and New Hampshire third. That hinges on the state Democratic party getting the state law requiring New Hampshire's primary to be first changed, and more voting options available.

“I hope you’re going to remember that during the general election,” Trump added.

Trump referenced a New Hampshire Journal/Coefficient poll released Friday, making him the choice of 43% of likely primary voters when 26% said they support Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and 13% Gov. Chris Sununu. He also referenced a nationwide poll by Emerson College giving him a 55%-29% lead over DeSantis and a slim lead over Biden 44%-41%.

A Granite State Poll by the UNH Survey Center, however, shows DeSantis ahead of Trump 42%-30%. Former Trump administration UN Ambassasor Nikki Haley was the pick of 8%, and Sununu 4%.

"We won't play prevent defense like they do in football, however," Trump said. "We're going to win and we're going to win very big."

No other Republicans have announced a 2024 presidential run.

"I'm more angry now"

Trump mocked the media for reporting comments by political analysts that he has not campaigned or held any rallies since announcing his candidacy in November.

"I'm more angry now and I am more committed now than I ever was," Trump said to cheers.

Trump also took a shot at political RHINOS, Republicans in Name Only, calling them more dangerous than Democrats. Critics of Sununu have referred to him as a RHINO.

Former President Donald Trump shakes hands with newly elected NH GOP Chairman Chris Ager at the New Hampshire Republican State Committee's Annual Meeting 1/28/23
Former President Donald Trump shakes hands with newly elected NH GOP Chairman Chris Ager at the New Hampshire Republican State Committee's Annual Meeting 1/28/23 (Scott Eisen/Getty Images)

Trump also announced that outgoing state Republican chairman Stephen Stepanek will serve as a senior advisor to his 2024 presidential campaign. He announced that Chris Ager was elected the new head of the state party. He defeated Seacoast businessman Lou Gargiulo, who was supported by Sununu.

Sununu was not at the general meeting. He left Friday for the Alfalfa Club's annual dinner in Washington, which takes place Saturday night.

Trump is scheduled to speak at a political event in South Carolina Saturday night.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNH

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