Donald Trump says his supporters are supremely devoted to him. But would they support him if he shot someone?
“They say I have the most loyal people – did you ever see that? – where I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn’t lose any voters,” Trump said, illustrating his point by pulling his fingers into a gun shape. “OK? It’s, like, incredible.”
The crowd laughed and clapped, and someone in the audience shouted out love for the candidate.
“We love you, too, man,” Trump said.
Trump’s comment came during a campaign rally Saturday at Dordt College in northwest Iowa. The 1,500-seat theater completely filled, hundreds more watched his speech from an overflow room.
Trump devoted a chunk of his nearly 70-minute-long speech to ripping the National Review, a conservative magazine that filled its latest edition with 22 essays from conservative thought leaders who do not want Trump to become the nominee.
In addition to criticizing his rivals, Trump went after conservative radio host Glenn Beck, who will be appearing at two rallies with Cruz. He bashed Beck as a “loser” and “sad sack” and said Sarah Palin’s endorsement, secured for Trump a few days earlier, is more important than if Beck had backed him.
Beck is among nearly two dozen conservative thinkers who penned anti-Trump essays for National Review magazine – a hit Trump to referred to repeatedly at the rally.
Another GOP candidate, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, started a dash to the caucuses at Iowa State University in Ames, where stressed that he represents the next generation of conservative leadership.
“Complaining and being frustrated alone will not be enough,” Rubio said. “It has to be someone who tells you exactly what they are going to do as president.”
Rubio recently stepped up his Iowa campaign appearances in hopes of breaking through the poll leaders in the state, Cruz and Trump, and putting himself in a stronger position for New Hampshire’s Feb. 9 primary.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.