Des Moines, IA – Trump Draws Full House At Own Event As Fox News Apologizes

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    Republican U.S. presidential candidate and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee arrives at rival candidate Donald Trump's "Rally to Benefit Veterans" taking place at the same time as the Republican presidential candidates debate in Des Moines, Iowa January 28, 2016. REUTERS/Rick WilkingDes Moines, IA – Donald Trump shunned Thursday night’s debate of the Republican presidential candidates hosted by Fox News and instead filled an auditorium a few miles down the road, trying to prove his widespread support only days before Iowa kicks off the nominating voting process.

    Trump, with just one day’s notice on a weeknight, was able to fill to capacity a hall that holds 700.

    He was also able to garner a tremendous amount of attention without having to share much of the spotlight. Cable news \networks CNN and MSNBC provided extensive coverage of Trump’s event.

    In deciding to hold a competing event, Trump said the gathering would be to benefit veterans and he welcomed his rivals to attend. Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee and former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania joined Trump after participating in the undercard debate, which was held for the Republican candidates at the bottom of the polls.

    Trump’s decision to skip the debate, which he said was because he would not be treated fairly by Fox News anchor and debate moderator Megyn Kelly and then was mocked in statements by Fox News officials, was sharply criticized by his opponents.

    Trump told CNN that someone from Fox News called him to apologize for the remarks made regarding his participation in the debate. “We need people who are going to stand up for themselves and the country,” he said. “I was treated very badly and very unfairly by Fox.”

    There are risks in holding his own event for Trump, who several recent polls have shown barely leading U.S. Senator Ted Cruz.

    If Trump wins the Iowa caucuses, the move will be lauded as proof that he has built a movement capable of circumventing establishment media. If he places second, the skipped debate will be blamed as a fatal tactical error that allowed opponents to paint him as weak in the fact of tough questions.

    Supporters and some curious onlookers waited in the sub-freezing cold in a line that wrapped around the building and down a block.

    Trump’s campaign erected a larger Jumbotron outside the auditorium to allow an overflow crowd to watch his remarks.

    Before Trump took the stage, some of his well-known supporters spoke. Lynnette “Diamond” Hardaway and Rochelle “Silk” Richardson, two women with a large online video blog following, urged the crowd to back Trump.

    Randy Bowling, a Trump supporter from Ottumwa, Iowa, said some of his friends who are undecided in the Republican contest said Trump’s decision to not participate in the debate raised doubts about supporting him.

    “We have mixed emotions,” Bowling said. “We caught a lot of flack from our friends who are on the fence.”

    Steven Doran, 19, was one of the many students and other curious area residents who attended the event with no plans to ultimately support Trump. Doran plans to participate in the Democratic caucus.

    “The spectacle,” Doran said when asked why he was there. “I’ve never seen Trump in person.”

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    7 COMMENTS

    1. If he can not stand on his own in the face of opposition, how will he deal with congress as president? with the hostile press?

      America needs a leader, not a blow hard like T Rump.

      • sorry but you are wrong. America needs someone that can stand up to the media and tell them you dont run the show the people do. You (and most Americans) dont realize what the media is doing, we all have opinions, but what we dont realize is that they are driven by the media, and its time someone stands up to them and tells them that not they and not the politicians from ether side run this country, but we the people. (obviously talking from a none jewish perspective, “leiv meluchin v’surim b’yad hashem” that is no question)

      • “How will he deal with congress as president” He will make them build the Wall. Its about time they do something for the country. In addition he will charge them 5 million. (Sounds like Pharaoh)

    2. someone said it best: trump is a juvenile demagogue.
      he could have done this event any day of the year – so the emphasis how well he did, or didn’t do, is irrelevant. what is relevant is how will he deal with the likes of putin – walk out of the room because putin ‘insulted’ him? puuleeezee !

      • Walking out is a tool and Trump used it to perfection. FIX News is a slanted news organization, hardly up to the toenails of Putin. Trump slapped them around by not going to their precious debate. If Putin begs Trump to come to his event and Trump asks for something in return and Putin doesn’t give it, the proper thing is to NOT go. It’s called housetraining and Trump is training the Media in how to act American.

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