Donald Trump said at a New Hampshire town hall Monday that “every single one” of the convicted drug dealers released under President Obama will return to selling drugs.
“These people are babies that think differently,” Trump said of the inmates. “And a lot of them don’t even think differently, they just don’t care. Frankly, I don’t even think they care, it’s almost like they don’t like the country. But out of those 6,000, every single one of them will be back selling drugs. It’ll be very rare for one that doesn’t.”
Six thousand inmates were released from prison at the end of 2015 as part of the Obama Administration’s effort to downsize the federal prison system and reduce sentences for nonviolent drug offenders. The administration supported the changes, but the release was made on the recommendation of the U.S. Sentencing Commission, an independent agency in the judicial branch that was created by Congress.
The snowy Londonderry talk was Trump’s second town hall-style event of the day, marking a noticeable shift from his usual arena rallies the day before the New Hampshire primary.
He seemed to connect more with voters at the second event, radiating both sympathy and determination when he was asked a few emotional questions.
His answer on clemency was in response to a father who spoke to Trump for a little while about losing his teenage son to a prescription drug overdose, asking questions related to the epidemic in New Hampshire and the country as a whole. After talking about the clemency, Trump told the man to reach out to him when he reaches the White House.
Later, a former United Airlines flight attendant stood and opened up to Trump about her survivor’s guilt from 9/11 (she had flown on September 10, and many of her friends were killed the following day.)
“Being angry is OK,” Trump said. “We’re going to make you happy again. But being angry is OK … I understand, darling. I understand what you’re going through.”
To finish the event, Trump turned to the rest of the audience: “I hope you’re angry enough to go out and vote tomorrow, folks,” he said.
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Write to Tessa Berenson / Concord, N.H. at tessa.Rogers@time.com