LAWRENCEVILLE — An enthusiastic group of Donald Trump supporters arrived hours ahead of his fundraiser in Lawrenceville, hoping to catch a glimpse of the likely Republican candidate for president.

Standing at a gate in front of the New Jersey National Guard Armory early Thursday afternoon,  71-year-old Joyce Rittenhouse,a  psychiatric nursing professor at Rowan College Burlington County, said she is a first-time voter and Trump supporter.

"I am so thankful that someone has had the nerve to stand up and support our country and tell them exactly how it is," she said.

Wearing a red shirt that red "Yup! Women for Trump," Rittenhouse said that none of the comments Trump has made about women have offended her "and I am telling everyone that I know to support him."  She also supports Gov. Chris Christie's efforts to control health care costs and is okay with having to pay for a portion of her health benefits.

As someone drove by shouting "you should be ashamed of yourselves," young couple John and Nicole said they came from Long Island to see Trump. "I love him. I think he's going to be a great change for the country," Nicole said.

Carol Scatoro from Mount Arlington, who said she is a Trump campaign volunteer who  has made over 1,000 calls, likes the fact that Trump "says what we the people think."

He's going to make the country better. She encouraged people to vote in New Jersey's presidential primary on June 7 and to make sure he gets the the required delegates.

"The establishment wants to crush him  and we want to make sure he gets in," Scatoro said.

"It's Trump all the way," Angela Carbone of Rutherford said as she arrived. "I appreciate what he says about bringing jobs back to the United States. That's my number one reason for supporting him" and urged Trump to "keep strong" and not change.

Trump is holding his first political fundraiser to help Christie pay down a $400,690 debt from his aborted run for president. He is also appearing at a separate $25,000-per-ticket event to benefit the state's Republican Party.

New Jersey Citizen Action said they would hold a protest in the park across the Armory but no participants had yet arrived.