Feb 2, 2016 8:24 PM
Source: NH1 News Political Director
MANCHESTER – Donald Trump says that even though he “didn’t take it that seriously,” he came in “a strong” second in Iowa’s Republican caucuses.
And in an exclusive interview with NH1 News, Trump added that when it came to skipping last week’s GOP debate in the Hawkeye State, “if I had to do it again, I would have done the same thing.”
Trump spoke one-on-one with NH1 News at his Granite State campaign headquarters, minutes after arriving in New Hampshire Tuesday evening. It was Trump’s first stop back in New Hampshire since finishing second in the caucuses to Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas. Trump was joined by former Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts, the 2014 GOP Senate nominee in New Hampshire, who officially endorsed Trump at a large rally later in the evening in Milford.
Asked how much not winning in Iowa hurt him personally and how much it hurt his bid for the White House, Trump said “I think we did great. I was expected not to be in the top ten for a long period of time. I came in second and we spent a lot less money than anybody else and everyone said ‘you’d never win in Iowa, you can’t win in Iowa’, so we didn’t take it that seriously. We came in a strong second. Brought out more voters than had ever been brought out. And actually the vote total that I got has been unbelievable. I think I had the highest in history other than the one vote. So I think we did very well. I’m very happy with it.:
After admitting he didn’t spend a lot of money on his campaign in Iowa, Trump was asked if in hindsight he wished he had spent more time and money in the caucuses.
“Perhaps so. I mean we were told by all the great experts that you couldn’t win. I started off in last position, I ended up in second,” he answered.
Trump said he did learn “some lessons” from his campaign in Iowa, but didn’t elaborate.
And he said that skipping last Thursday’s Republican presidential debate was not a mistake, as some of his rivals and many pundits have suggested.
“I skipped the debate because I wasn’t treated properly and what did I do, I raised six million dollars for the vets. So If I had to do it again, I would have done the same thing, Because coming in second in Iowa and raising six million dollars for the vets was really worth it for me. The vets are very happy with the job I’ve done and if you look at New Hampshire, it’s a big vet area, and I’ll tell you what, everywhere I go they thank me for that six million dollars.”
Trump didn’t want to speculate if he missed a golden opportunity in Iowa to put the GOP race to bed and instead allowed Cruz and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, who Trump narrowly edged out for second, to become emboldened.
“Well you never really know, you’re going to see what happens. I think we’ll do very well here. I think we’re going to do very well in South Carolina. We’re going to see what happens,” Trump said.