BOONE, Iowa — Donald Trump, the billionaire businessman who continues to trounce his Republican opponents in the race for The White House, spent his Saturday in Iowa rallying supporters, but also drawing protests.
Trump started his day in Boone at the annual "Pufferbilly Days" celebration to rile up supporters from the first-in-the-nation voting state.
Trump announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination in June, drawing criticism for his comments about illegal immigrants, saying Mexico was sending over drugs, crime and rapists.
“If you’re illegal, you gotta go back,” Trump said Saturday.
Trump said his immigration plan has been well received, adding that he thought it may be too tough, but people told him to make it stricter. Part of that plan includes building a wall on the border
Trump said even if the people are "great" and have been here a long time they need to go back, but that there are also a lot of “bad ones.” Trump said a lot of the gangs in various cities are "illegals" and “tough dudes.”
“One of the first things; they’re gone,” he said.
Trump has received a lot of press attention throughout his campaign for controversial statements and has no shame when it comes to insults.
When talking about foreign policy, Trump mentioned U.S. Ambassador of Japan Caroline Kennedy.
“She knows nothing," Trump said. "She admits she knows nothing.”
The businessmen said he wants the “meanest” people representing the United States.
“We have stupid, stupid leadership,” Trump said.
While Trump had supporters in the crowd, rally goers who had signs for Republican opponent Ben Carson, the world-famous neurosurgeon who is polling second to Trump in Iowa, were also present. Trump campaign workers, as well as security, quickly ended the small protest.
Trump returned attacks from Carson during the event, criticizing the neurosurgeon for attacking him based on his Trump's faith. He also talked taxes, trade and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry exiting the race.
Dave Duncan, who works at a school in Boone, protested outside the rally and said police would not allow him inside.
“They told me I could not go in with this sign or I could be arrested,” Duncan said.
Duncan said he wants some substance and a plan of action from Trump.
“It’s just getting old,” he said.
Duncan said he is a straight independent and does not plan on caucusing because he does not want to align himself with any party. He has a favorite candidate, but chose not to share.
Lee Barclay, of Madrid, and George Ensley, chairman of the Boone County Democrats, also protested at the event.
Ensley said Trump is missing out on many issues, especially when it comes to helping families get ahead.
“The money has been going to the top 1 percent,” Ensley said.
Ensley and Barclay are both for Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. Ensley said Sanders has a proven record by voting against issues such as the Vietnam and Iraq war.
“He’s been right on the issues every single time,” Ensley said.
Despite the controversy, Trump is leading Iowa in the latest Quinnipac poll with 27 percent. Behind Carson trails Trump with 21 percent and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz rounds out the top three with 9 percent.
Following his appearance in Boone, Trump headed to Ames to meet with tailgaters at the annual Cy-Hawk game between Iowa State and Iowa.