President Trump rally in Wildwood, New Jersey: Live updates
WILDWOOD — Thousands of people lined up even before Tuesday morning to see President Donald Trump's campaign rally at the Wildwood Convention Center. We'll be posting live updates to this story all day.
The president is expected to stump for New Jersey Congressman Jeff Van Drew, who recently changed his party affiliation from Democrat to Republican, and who's gained the president's favor.
It remains to be seen whether he'll address New Jersey's immigration policy under Gov. Phil Murphy — limiting police cooperation with federal immigration enforcement, and providing services and benefits including tuition aid to people in the country illegally. The U.S. Department of Justice filed a brief Friday supporting Cape May Countyand Ocean County’s legal challenges to the Murphy administration Immigrant Trust Directive,
UPDATE: 8:15 p.m. — Trump on Jersey: President Trump, as expected, heaped praise on Democrat-turned-Republican Rep Jeff Van Drew, as well as tossing acknowledgments to former Gov. Chris Christie (who supported Trump during the presidential campaign after ending his own bid during the Republican Primary), as well as his adviser, New Jersey native Kellyanne Conway.
He criticized New Jersey's Democratic leadership for policies he said put immigrants here illegally back on the street, making them available to commit other crimes.
The speech is ongoing (watch above). Check back here for complete coverage of Trump's statements about New Jersey.
UPDATE, 6:15 p.m. — Trump to talk about immigration, economy: In advance materials sent to the press, the Trump campaign said "the evidence is clear that his pro-growth policies are benefiting New Jersey workers," giving a preview of the president's priorities for his speech in New Jersey.
It said the Democrats' "reckless policies would invite even more illegal immigrant crime and economic pain." The statement appeared to be at least in part a jab at Gov. Phil Murphy's immigration-friendly policies, which include a directive to limit police cooperation with federal immigration enforcement, access to driver's licenses for immigrants in the country illegally, and benefits such as college tuition for such immigrants.
But some of the verbiage in a Trump campaign press statement focused instead on Trump's own opponents in the coming presidential election.
"Radical open-border policies supported by every single Democrat candidate have caused violence in the Garden State," the campaign said, citing crimes committed by immigrants in the country illegally.
The statement also touted the tax cuts Trump championed (though not the new cap on state and local tax dedications some New Jersey property owners have relied on to reduce their federal taxes) and administration-negotiated trade deals and criticized what it called an "extreme government takeover of health care (that) would take away 5.4 million New Jerseyans’ private health insurance plans."
It wasn't immediately clear which of several healthcare proposals by Democrats on the national stage the campaign was referencing. It said the so-called Green New Deal would wipe out jobs in New Jersey.
UPDATE, 6 p.m. — Gov. Phil Murphy responds: An hour before President Trump was set to take the stage, Murphy and the state Democratic committee issued a written statement blasting U.S. Rep. Jeff Van Drew for switching parties.
“President Trump has spent the past three years breaking promises and taking our country backwards by embracing hate and division,” Murphy said. “His failed record stands in stark contrast to what we’ve been able to accomplish here in New Jersey, and his presence is a reminder of how important it is that we continue working to make our economy deliver for the middle class, not just the wealthy and well-connected. That’s what we’re fighting for as Democrats, and that’s why we will defeat President Trump and Rep. Van Drew in November.”
UPDATE, 5:30 p.m. — Trump's rally comes on a packed da . President Donald Trump comes to New Jersey on a day in which his administration rolled out a Middle East Peace Plan, and his attorneys rolled out a fiery, made-for-TV defense against impeachment on the floor of the Senate.
UPDATE, 5:17 p.m. — Trump rally underway. Begins with a prayer, the Pledge of Allegiance led by state Sen. Chris Brown, R-Atlantic, who is a Gulf War veteran, and the national anthem. State. Sen. Mike Testa, R-Cape May, addresses the crowd.
UPDATE, 3:30 p.m. — Crowds are beginning to head into the Wildwood Convention Center. More photos:
UPDATE, 1:30 p.m. — More photos from Wildwood:
Update, 11 a.m. — 'South Jersey is Trump Country:' Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway, a New Jersey Native, called into New Jersey 101.5's Bill Spadea this morning, calling him an "old and trusted friend."
"Not old," she said. "You know what I mean."
She told Spadea there are countless supporters in New Jersey, including "undercover Trump voters" who like the president's record. She predicted a second term for Trump, and said she plans to say so at the rally.
"It's pretty exciting. The media always say, 'Yes, Kellyanne, we see all these people, but will they vote?' 'No, they waited outside in a tent for two days just to be where he is, to be part of a movement, but we're not sure they'll vote.' We know they'll vote, Bill."
Update, 10:30 a.m. — More from the thousands on line: "I wouldn't do this for anybody else that I don't have a relationship with. I can't think of another person that I would stake out three days of my life, take time out from work, take time out from my life to do this," Jasmine Morrisey from Middletown said. She arrived on the boardwalk on Sunday night and slept outdoors for the first time.
Eddie Luberski from Wildwood was excited that Trump is coming to his the town he spends his summers.
"Even if I don't get in I need to be here," Luberski said, adding that he likes the idea of "having a businessman in charge of the country."
John Castaldi from Woodbine expects a "real spectacle" of people for and against Trump and was also impressed that a sitting president is coming to New Jersey.
"Whether you like or hate him it's going to be huge," said Castaldi, who described himself as a Trump supporter.
Update, 8:15 a.m. — Lines forming early: By very early morning, more than 2,000 people were said to be already camped out on the boardwalk in anticipation of tonight’s Trump presidential campaign rally according to video posted by the Facebook page “Watch the Tramcar Please.” The presidential limo had also arrived.
Update, Monday — National Anthem singer from NJ: Jacki Buckingham-Scola, 33, of Middle Township has been chosen to sing the National Anthem at President Donald Trump's rally Tuesday in Wildwood.
Update, Monday — Where to watch: There are a number of events, both in the city and around the state, for supporters who want to watch the event together as it unfolds Tuesday night. Many are being hosted by county Republican organizations. We've collected a list here.
Update, Monday — National Anthem singer from NJ: Lara Trump, a campaign adviser to the president and wife to his son, Eric, told Harry Hurley of New Jersey 101.5 sister stations WPG Talk Radio 95.5 FM and 1450 AM more than 175,000 tickets were requested for the rally. Only 7,500 people will get in.