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Trump speaks to record crowd at Wartburg College

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WAVERLY | Fourth-grader Shay Doyle got some life advice on Wednesday from his role model Donald Trump.

The real estate mogul’s words of wisdom were simply, “Do what you love.”

It was enough for Shay, who wants to emulate Trump by becoming a businessman and maybe running for president. Shay was almost at a loss for words after meeting his idol.

“Amazing. I want to remember that for a long time,” Shay said. “I don’t know how to explain it. It’s unbelievable.”

Trump, who has launched an exploratory campaign for president, spent about an hour at Wartburg College’s Neumann Auditorium making clear to the packed crowd that he does, in fact, love what he does.

He talked about his restoration of a Miami hotel and joked that the “Trump 2016” banner near the White House wasn’t so much a political ad as it was advertising a new Washington, D.C., hotel that he will open next year.

But he said he’s thinking of giving that all up because he is tired of seeing his country being “ripped off.”

“We have to fix the country. It’s ill. It’s not feeling well. It’s been mistreated. It’s been scoffed at. It’s been run by incompetent people. It’s been run by dishonest and crooked people,” Trump said during the speech. “It’s been treated badly, and it needs help, and it needs it quickly.”

He referred to the rioting in Baltimore but said he could name 25 other cities that are “going to explode.”

Trump said in a separate interview with The Courier that he has made up his mind about whether he will run for the Republican nomination for president, and expects to announce that decision this summer in June or July.

He told the crowd that he seriously considered running for the nation’s highest office in 2012 but opted against it because he had younger children and because he thought that the Republican nominee Mitt Romney would do a good job.

“I don’t know what the hell happened to him. He choked,” Trump said. “It’s true.”

Romney wasn’t alone in being on the receiving end of the usual blunt talk that Trump delivers. He also ripped into the Democratic president, the party’s 2016 frontrunner Hillary Clinton and his potential Republican rivals during his business-oriented speech on campus.

As a contrast to the usual politicians “who are all talk and no action,” Trump said he would get the job done.

“They’ll never bring you to the promised land. I can tell you that,” Trump said. “I don’t even think they want to, but I know they don’t know how to.”

Trump also distinguished himself from his other Republican candidates on policy issues. He called himself a conservative Republican but said he wouldn't touch Social Security, and would only root out waste, fraud and abuse in the Medicare and Medicaid programs.

He also said he knew hedge fund managers and believes they should be paying more in taxes.

“They should pay more tax. I hate to say this. Because they pay not enough. That whole charade is ridiculous,” Trump said.

He told The Courier his top priorities would be national security, repealing and replacing the federal health care law known as Obamacare, and bringing back jobs and ensuring better trade deals for the United States.

“I think nobody can do the economy like I can do the economy,” Trump told The Courier. “Because that’s what I do. I create jobs. Over my life, I’ve created tens of thousands of jobs, and very few people can say they created the number of jobs that I have.”

Trump focused on the latter priority during much of his speech. He said he’d be a tough negotiator with our trade partners — Trump particularly focused on China — and ensure that the United States is not taken advantage of.

It wasn’t just the young Doyle who was drawn to what Trump had to say. His mother Michele Doyle said she was happy for her son but said she thought his speech was relatable.

“I thought the speech was very on point, and he said so much that was relatable and would beneficial for our country overall,” Michele Doyle said.

Wartburg student Emily Laudner, who introduced Trump, said it was a record-breaking crowd that packed into the auditorium to hear Trump speak.

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