AMES, Iowa — Donald Trump thought his brash personality would resonate with all GOP primary voters, but it appears he may have miscalculated in front of an Iowan audience.
"The Donald" emphasized his meteoric rise to the top of the polls in comments to reporters at the Family Leader event on Iowa State University's campus. But the audience's applause dwindled the longer he stayed onstage at the Family Leadership Summit. And several attendees told the Washington Examiner he had lost their support.
Trump said he thought Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz, was regarded as a war hero because he was held in captivity. He doubled down on the comment to reporters afterward, and said McCain hasn't done enough for veterans.
Brenda Anderson, an attendee, told the Examiner she found Trump's comments inappropriate.
"I think it was a little disrespectful," Anderson said. "I voted for John McCain, but I don't know that I really think that he's doing that great a job right now. But I would not disrespect him as a veteran."
But more egregious than his comments about McCain, Anderson said, was his comment that he had not asked God for forgiveness.
"I think sometimes he just gets a little carried away with what he says," Anderson said. "[He] was a little arrogant, but truthful I guess."
An U.S. Armed Services veteran named Bob, who declined to provide his full name but proudly wore his Air Force polo, said Trump has lost his support. He said he thought Trump's comments on Saturday will come back to haunt him, but Trump's non-answer about whether he had ever asked God for forgiveness doomed him the most.
Jim Ingram, an Iowa attendee, said he strongly disagrees with Trump's comments on McCain, too.
"Anyone who is a veteran is a war hero. Period," Ingram said. "I wouldn't say he lost my support because I don't know who I'm supporting yet, but I do not support [Trump]."
Trump polls in second place nationally, according to RealClearPolitics average of polls. But his appeal in Iowa appeared to diminish on Saturday.
The socially conservative audience appeared to find Trump's stance against political correctness refreshing, but his flamboyant personality too much to handle. Trump may have done more harm than good to his campaign in Iowa this weekend.