Trump courts voters — and controversy — on the campaign trail

Former President Donald Trump hit the campaign trail over the weekend, sparking controversy along the way.  

On Saturday, Trump traveled to New Hampshire, where he said immigrants coming from “all over the world” are “poisoning the blood of our country,” per NBC’s Ginger Gibson. He repeated the term again in a Truth Social post.

The Biden campaign responded by noting Adolf Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” also referenced “blood poisoning,” and said in a statement that Trump “channeled his role models as he parroted Adolf Hitler, praised Kim Jong Un, and quoted Vladimir Putin while running for president on a promise to rule as a dictator and threaten American democracy.”

On Sunday, Trump traveled to Nevada for a rally, where he said some of his so-called “fake electors” there were being treated “unfairly” on the eve of their arraignment. 

Meanwhile, Trump continues to dominate the GOP primary, and Trump’s rivals haven’t matched the energy around the former president’s events in New Hampshire, NBC’s Jonathan Allen writes from Saturday’s rally.  

Trump campaign senior adviser Susie Wiles told reporters in New Hampshire that the president is hitting the campaign trail as he faces multiple court cases with trials beginning early next year, noting the looming court battles are a “scheduling nightmare,” per NBC’s Emma Barnett.  

“We front load as much as we can,” Wiles said. 

In other campaign news … 

Knives out in Iowa: Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley directly criticized Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis during her Iowa town hall, saying, “I have not talked negatively about anybody. But if you’ve got to lie to win, you don’t deserve to win,” per NBC’s Sarah Dean and Greg Hyatt. Also in Iowa, DeSantis criticized Trump, saying the former president would say the caucuses are “stolen” if Trump loses. 

Biden navigates Hunter: While the White House has stressed that Biden does not plan to pardon his son Hunter, questions about a potential pardon persist, NBC’s Peter Nicholas and Jonathan Allen report. And NBC’s Mike Memoli writes that Biden is navigating his son’s indictments as he marks the anniversary of a tragic car accident.

Union drama: Memoli also writes that the International Association of Fire Fighters — the first union to endorse Biden’s 2020 run — “remains on the sidelines and faces internal divisions about whether to endorse at all in 2024.”

Backing down: GOP strategist Jeff Roe parted ways over the weekend with Never Back Down, a super PAC backing DeSantis that has been subject to internal tensions over the last few weeks. Roe’s departure came after the Washington Post published an extensive report detailing the group’s internal drama.

Candidate recruitment crunch time: Three months from the first Senate GOP primary, it’s a crucial time for Senate Republican campaign operatives to block problematic candidates in battleground states, Politico reports. 

Hefty price tag: Political strategists estimate a special election to replace ousted GOP Rep. George Santos in New York could cost up to $20 million, CNBC reports.

Holding the reins: Some fake electors from 2020 who tried to overturn the presidential election in favor of Trump now hold roles overseeing elections in their states or localities, the Associated Press reports.

Clouds over the Sunshine State GOP: The Florida GOP “voted to functionally strip all power from current Chairman Christian Ziegler, who is under criminal investigation for allegations of sexual assault, including rape,” writes NBC’s Matt Dixon. Ziegler has faced increasing calls to resign, and Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., joined those calls on Friday, telling NBC’s Alex Tabet that “it’s time to move on and select a different leader.”