Trump takes credit for Sanders’ Iowa surge

Donald Trump campaigning in Des Moines — photo by Alex Hanson
Donald Trump campaigning in Des Moines — photo by Alex Hanson

Donald Trump told a packed house in the Muscatine High School gymnasium that “Bernie Sanders is surging” because of the billionaire’s attacks on Hillary Clinton. Some polls show Sanders edging out Clinton in Iowa.

“I was the best thing that ever happened to Bernie Sanders because my attack on Hillary, all of a sudden she went down and Sanders got all the credit for it. Right? This guy Bernie Sanders, give me a break, how does he figure in this whole thing? But he got all the credit. It’s unbelievable!”

He compared the crowd counts at his events to Sanders’: “He had 3,000 people, we had 12,000.”

Before the speech, Trump attended a service at First Presbyterian Church in Muscatine where the subject of the sermon that day had been humility. “I don’t know if that was aimed at me,” he said.

“There’s never been anything like this yet,” Trump told the audience about his presidential run.

Talking about the Feb. 1 caucuses, he said, “No matter what’s going on, if you lost your job 15 minutes before, if they said, you’re fired because the economy stinks, which it does. No matter what happens, you gotta get out and caucus because we’re going to change things. We’re going to change them.”

Trump also gave a shout out to Jeff Kaufmann, the chair of the Iowa GOP, “He’s fantastic, a dynamic guy and a great guy.”

Trump said Kaufmann told him that many people were calling the party office about changing their party affiliation to vote Republican.

He had warm words for Sarah Palin, the 2008 vice-presidential candidate who endorsed Trump last week in Ames. She was, in Trump’s words, “A wonderful woman who loves this country.”

Trump also gave a run-down of his poll numbers, “through the roof, all of them,” and teased the crowd about Iowa’s history of Republican caucus losers. “You haven’t picked a winner in 16 years,” he said, “If you choose me we’re going to finally have a winner.”

Trump also gave a thank you to Chuck Grassley, who introduced him at an event on Saturday.

Trump’s campaign just released a caucus-finder application.

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