MUSCATINE, Iowa — A huge crowd, including from outside of the state of Iowa, packed the Muscatine High School gymnasium Sunday afternoon to see and hear from Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.
In a one-hour address, Trump challenged his fellow GOP rivals, Sen. Ted Cruz and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, two of the three Democrats running for president; former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, and the current occupant of the White House, President Barack Obama.
"We're going to win again. We're going to win a lot. We are going to make our country great again. We're going to be very proud of these days. But you have to go out. You have to caucus," Trump said.
He chastised Iowa Republicans for not picking the eventual Republican nominee in the last 16 years.
"You have not had a winner in so long. I give you my word. You're going to have a winner (in me)," he said. The large crowd erupted into cheers and chants of "Trump, Trump."
He vowed to use his skills as a negotiator in business to help advance the United States.
"I'll be the greatest jobs president that God ever created," he said.
Trump pledged to lower taxes on corporations and businesses turning the U.S. from having one of the highest tax rates in the world to one of the lowest.
He supports the Keystone pipeline with the provision that the United States receive 25 percent of the profits.
"I want a piece of the deal. Doesn't that make sense?"
He called on constitutional scholars to determine if Ted Cruz is eligible to run for president having been born in Canada to American citizens. A line about Cruz being able to run for U.S. president and prime minister of Canada got big cheers from the crowd.
Continuing to attack his Republican rivals, Trump called out Jeb Bush for a series of negative ads running in Iowa.
"It's time to give up, Jeb."
Many in the crowd were waving signs with the message, "The Silent Majority stands with Trump." Some sported Trump hats. Others wore Trump T-shirts.
He saved some political venom for the Democrats seeking their party's nomination.
Trump said Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders sounded like a Communist. On Former Secretary of State Clinton, he said she supported many policies of President Obama as a way of staying out of prison.
Trump was introduced by Iowa State Republican Party Chairman Jeff Kaufmann of Wilton.
"Donald Trump has brought some energy into this party,"' Kaufmann said in a raucous.
Kaufmann promised the full backing of the Iowa Republican Party regardless of which candidate wins the nomination
Jim Switzer, Williamsport, Indiana, drove four hours to see Trump in person.
"He fulfilled everything I wanted to hear. You kind of got to go along with some of it that you don't like. But that's part of it and it's for the cameras," Switzer said.
Switzer said hadn't planned to vote in 2016 and Trump has retorted in his faith in the politicial process.
Wearing a white Trump hat, Rick Levandowski, Independence, Wisconsin, is a military contractor who works overseas.
"I've been watching him for a long time and one of the biggest things that strike me is he's not beholden to anyone. I am a libertarian. Here I am," Levandowski said.
Two Illinois sisters traveled to Muscatine to see Trump.
"I wish he had talked more about the issues," said Victoria Menconi, of Bartlett, Illinois. "I would have liked to hear more of substance."
Menconi is leaning toward Trump but not sure who she will eventually vote for.
Her sister, Lisa Legorreta, Sugar Grove, Illinois said the event was exciting.
"I was very pleased to come and watch him speak in person. And to see the entire dialogue instead of just snippets that you get in the mainstream media," she said.
"I am a Trump supporter because I think he speaks for average people, working people. People like myself who work in a hospital and are watching our health care costs go through the roof and deductibles go through the roof and I think he is really the only candidate who truly means what he says."
Zach Jirak, of Muscatine, a student at Western Illinois University, brought a classmate, Matthew Hutchison, of St. Louis, Missouri, to the rally.
Jirak is a criminal justice major.
"I completely agree when he says cops are the most misunderstood people out there," Jirak said.
Hutchison also supports Trump.
"I really wanted to see him give a speech because I am really behind what he says," Hutchison said.