CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa | Donald Trump does not hold politicians in high regard.
“We’re being led by stupid people,” the global real estate tycoon said Wednesday in Cedar Rapids. “They didn’t read ‘The Art of the Deal.’ It was written by some guy named Trump.”
The shameless self-promotion is part of his shtick as he points to the size of the crowds he attracts and the number of standing ovations he gets as evidence voters are taking his exploration of a presidential campaign seriously.
“The only thing people want to know is if I’m going to run,” he said. “That’s the only doubt they have.”
He plans to announce his decision in June or July.
If he runs -- and his visits to Iowa and the campaign staff he’s hiring suggest he will -- Trump promises he will be a different kind of candidate.
“I don’t even want your money. I want your support if I run,” he told more than 100 people at a fundraiser for Secretary of State Paul Pate at the Cedar Rapids Country Club.
Jeff Witter of Marion appreciated Trump didn’t ask for money, but he’s not ready to commit his support if Trump seeks the GOP nomination.
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“We’ve got a lot of good candidates on the Republican side this year,” he said. He thinks Trump, with his business savvy, would be a real asset as a member of a president’s Cabinet.
“But I don’t know if he has the patience to run a campaign,” Witter said. “If he did, I could vote for him.”
His audience was standing, so there were no ovations, but Trump received enthusiastic applause when he promised to brings jobs back from China and Mexico.
“China will pay a tremendous tax” for its currency manipulation, he said, adding, “China is sucking our blood.”
Despite his opinion of politicians and current leaders, Trump sees “tremendous potential if we have the right leader.”
If he runs and wins, Trump said, “We will make this country great again. We will actually make this country, in my opinion, maybe, better than it’s ever been before.”
Trump is “interesting,” Diane Birchard of Newton said.
“I’m not sure, but that’s about as far as it goes for me,” she said, “It was fun to see him in person.”