Trump tells crowd it has 'no choice' but to vote for him over economy

President says economy will tank without him

By Maegan Vazquez, CNN

President Donald Trump at a rally in New Hampshire Thursday.

MANCHESTER, New Hampshire (CNN) - President Donald Trump visited New Hampshire for the first time in his reelection campaign Thursday, ripping his Democratic competitors and taking credit for the country's economic success as he made his pitch.

Trump spoke to an arena full of supporters in Manchester, saying that the economy will tank if he is not reelected. The warning came during a week of volatility on Wall Street over the President's trade war with China and concerns about a potential recession.

"See, the bottom line is, I know you like me and this room is a lovefest and I know that, but you have no choice but to vote for me, because your 401(k)s ... down the tubes. Everything is going to be down the tubes," the President said.

"So whether you love me or hate me, you've got to vote for me," he added.

Speaking in a state he narrowly lost to Hillary Clinton in 2016, Trump claimed full responsibility for the health of the American economy, and said the stock market would have crashed without his presidency.

"If for some reason I wouldn't have won these elections, these markets would have crashed. And that'll happen even more so in 2020," he warned.

The President also criticized his Democratic competitors.

"I sort of hope it's him," Trump said of Joe Biden getting the Democratic presidential nomination, slamming the former vice president for his frequent gaffes.

Trump also poked at Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, saying that she was rising in the race and he would start to target her for attacks more if she continued to be a contender.

Trump also elaborated on his new push to consider building more mental institutions to prevent further mass shootings. During the rally, the President did not bring up talks with Republicans to strengthen background checks for gun purchases, but he did emphasize, more than once, that his administration was committed to protecting the 2nd Amendment.

"We're going to have to give major consideration to building new facilities for those in need," Trump said, later asserting that his administration "can't make it harder for good, solid, law-abiding citizens to protect themselves. We will always uphold the right to self-defense and we will always uphold the Second Amendment."

Ahead of the Manchester rally, Trump all but endorsed a potential Senate run by his former campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, who has been mulling a run to unseat New Hampshire Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, according to multiple sources familiar with discussions.

Trump said during his speech that Lewandowski had not made up his mind about running.

"He hasn't made up his mind yet but he would be fantastic," Trump said, telling Lewandowski, "Let us know."

CNN's Nikki Carvajal and Jeremy Diamond contributed to this report.

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