Donald Trump hits Iowa City


FILE - In this file photo, Donald Trump speaks to a crowd at the University of Iowa Field house on Tuesday Jan 26, 2016. (The Daily Iowan/Jordan Gale, file)


By Brent Griffiths
[email protected]

“What a team, they like Trump, and I like them,” Trump said of the Big Ten West Division Champion football team as some of players came on stage. “Look at their size; they are so big and strong.”

But not everyone in the audience was ready to make America great again, at least not Trump’s version.

The Republican front-runner told the approximately 1,900 people packed into the Field House that he loves protesters. Their outbursts, he said, are the only way the media show the size of his crowds. In Iowa City, Trump’s wish was granted.

“Oh no, not again, throw them the hell out of here,” Trump said toward the end as another barrage of whistles echoed through the room. “Am I allowed to rip that whistle out of the mouth? Should somebody do that?”

PHOTO SLIDESHOW: Donald Trump speaks inside Field House

And just five days shy of the first-in-the-nation caucuses, Trump urged attendees to caucus for him. He added later that a win in Iowa would set him up to run the table of early states and walk away with the GOP nomination.

“If we win Iowa, we’re gonna win New Hampshire and South Carolina,” he said before wrapping up his speech. “We will be the first in every single state.”

Trump and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz are locked into too-close-to-call contest for first place on caucus night, which is only five days away. A Quinnipiac University poll of likely Republican caucus-goers had Trump leading 31 to 29 percent over Cruz. But the sample of 651 Iowa Republicans has a 3.8 percentage point margin of error, meaning the race is a statistical dead heat.

“We’re second on immigration, people who want to take our jobs, China — it’s time to take care of ourselves,” said 66-year-old Jim Glasgow of Iowa City.

Glasgow, a lifelong resident of Iowa, has never caucused before, but he plans to support Trump and bring a few friends along with him.

“This is such an unbelievable tradition even the whole concept of caucus there’s something beautiful about it,” Trump said about the state’s caucuses. “It’s harder, it’s more complicated, but you really learn about voting and your country — there’s something really special about it.”

The business mogul previously stumped in Johnson County this summer, eight days before announcing his presidential campaign.

RELATED: Trump raises local hackles

Lovingly called the “People’s Republic” by local progressives, Johnson County is a pocket for some of the Iowa Democratic Party’s more liberal adherents.

The county was the only one Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad did not carry in a midterm-election romp, it was the first place President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden visited after the 2012 Democratic National Convention, and it also served as host to a celebratory rally after the passage of Obamacare in 2010.

At least three individuals were led out before Trump even took the stage, another handful or so were removed as they sporadically spoke up during the former reality TV star’s 40 minutes on stage. The UI police said only the man who threw a tomato at Trump would be charged. The rest were escorted out — including Yotopia Frozen Yogurt owner Veronica Tessler.

The appearance came to an abrupt end (Trump has been known to speak for over an hour) after another round of protesters sounded off on their whistles.

Afterward, attendees said Trump vocalized how many of them feel and they thought he dispatched the protesters with ease.

“He dealt with them beautifully and handled them like he would handle another country,” said UI freshman Michael Chizek, who was decked out in Reagan-Bush ’84 gear. He plans on caucusing for Trump.

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