Donald Trump this afternoon called for an immediate election, complained he’s not getting paid for bringing news networks record ratings, suggested outlawing the use of teleprompters by presidential candidates and thoroughly charmed the crowd in Iowa.
Noting he’s far and away the front-runner among GOP candidates in the election cycle to date, Trump refused to name the candidate who’s a distant No. 2 “because I want to be nice tonight.”
“Ann Coulter’s here – can we call for an immediate election?” he asked Coulter adding, “Go out and buy her book, by the way.”
After tossing Univision anchor Jorge Ramos from his pre-speech news conference (then inviting him back in and suggesting they have lunch and talk), Trump attacked the TV news operations that have been tailing him, lapping up the ratings, and whose cameras were trained on him as he delivered his speech without a teleprompter.
“You know why these camera are all red lighted?” Trump asked the crowd in the hall, pointing to the line of cameras. “Because of ratings! If I didn’t get ratings, they wouldn’t be here. They’re not nice people!” he said.
The crowd roared its approval.
“They don’t care about me, and they don’t care about you! The only thing they care about is ratings,” he said.
Trump complained that it’s especially hard for him to make speeches because his every word is being broadcast on many TV networks. “I’m working my ass off,” he said of this appearance. “Every night I’m on live television. Every night — CNN, Fox, MSNBC, NBC. Look at them! They’re all live. It’s not fair!
“And by the way, they’re getting great ratings. That’s why they’re live,” he continued. “They don’t pay me anything, for the debate. We had 24 million people. Normally they have 2 million, if they’re lucky. I won’t take credit for it, but, believe me, 100% of it is me.”
The other candidates, he said, have it easy. “They go around making speeches. Nobody cares. They can make the same speech. We should outlaw teleprompters for anybody running for president,” he added.
The audience roared some more, making it an official love fest.
Once again, the man who would be leader of the free world told that story about how execs at NBC and parent Comcast came to his office months ago to discuss returning to The Apprentice for another season. He said he declined, explaining: “I really want to run for President and I want to make America great again. And they didn’t believe me!” That included, Trump said, “the head of Comcast, who is an amazing guy — we’ll call him Steve.”
Their incredulous reaction? But “we love you.”
“They don’t love me so much any more,” Trump snickered.
No Trump speech would be complete without a plug for his 1987 book Trump: The Art Of The Deal. This time he called it the second-best book in history – “second only to the Bible.”
He thought to add: “Deep, deep second – it’s not even close.”
Trump called Jeb Bush, who is in several recent polls running a distant No. 2 among GOP hopefuls, “very low energy. I’m not used to that kind of a person. I’m used to dealing with killers.
“Who would you rather have negotiating against China, against Iran … Jeb Bush, Hillary Clinton or Trump?” the media mogul asked. When his audience shouted his name, he replied: “I think so! Believe me!”
Trump assured the crowd he has some of the top business negotiators in this country lined up to work on making deals if he’s elected. “I have people who are so nasty nobody in Iowa will have dinner with them. It’s true! They’re horrible.”
The American dream is in trouble, Trump said. “But we’re going to make it bigger and better and stronger. And we’re going to win the nomination, and we’re going to get the smartest people — the smartest, toughest, best people — to represent us against the world. And we are going to make our country great again. You’re going to be so proud of it … and I look forward to being with you for many, many years to come.”
And then he walked off, to Twisted Sister’s “We’re Not Going To Take It.” CNN likened his performance to a unicorn sighting.