Donald Trump suggested it’s time for some of his rivals to drop out of the presidential race in a meandering speech that took aim at his fellow Republican presidential hopefuls, Hillary Clinton and the direction of the country.
For more than an hour and a half, Trump railed on the state of the country and the state of the race as he touted his standing in the polls. The standing room-only rally at a local community college was Trump’s first appearance in the state since Tuesday’s debate and he told the crowd he’s hopeful that “the guys on the end” get out of the presidential race.
“Why are these people staying? George Pataki?” Trump said of the former New York governor. “He’s got nothing.”
Lindsey Graham? “He talks tough, but we’ll end up with World War II over Syria,” Trump charged. Marco Rubio he called “weak like a baby on immigration. He’s not tough enough to be a president.” He claimed credit for “killing” Jeb Bush’s campaign by calling him “low energy,” and said he’d refrain from blasting Sen. Ted Cruz -- for now.
“It’s hard for me to say anything bad,” he said of Cruz. “I’ll save that for when he gets nasty. If it’s down to the two of us then I can be.”
But he saved most of his venom for retired neurologist Ben Carson, who has surpassed Trump in a number of polls. He doubled down on remarks earlier in the day that Carson has a “pathological temper” that is like the sickness of a "child molester” and he accused Carson of telling fantastical stories of violent episodes from his youth.
At one point, Trump left the lectern and opened his suit jacket to show his belt, reenacting Carson’s story he tells in his autobiography of trying to stab a friend, only to be foiled by the friend’s belt buckle.
“Somebody hits me with a knife, it’s going in because the belt moves this way. It moves that way! It moves the buckle!,” Trump exclaimed. “Anybody have a knife and want to try it on me?”
He suggested Carson’s stories were made up and he said he was flabbergasted by Carson’s popularity: “How stupid are the people of Iowa? How stupid are the people of the country to believe this crap?”
He said he believes Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic nominee, but said she’s “nothing” without the “woman’s card” he accused her of playing.
He told the crowd that if he’d gone too far and they were insulted, he’d be happy to “go back to my life” and not put up with the news media, which he criticized as “some unbelievable scum.” Several people left before he finished speaking, but others mobbed him at the stage, seeking his signature on campaign signs.
Apart from ripping his rivals, Trump pledged, among other things, that as president he’d bring jobs back to the U.S., restore the use of the words “Merry Christmas” -- which he said isn’t used anymore -- and “bomb the sh&*” out of the Islamic State.