CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — Donald Trump on Thursday dismissed the optimistic tone Democrats have offered at their national convention, telling an enthusiastic Iowa crowd that "they’re not talking about the real world."
“They're not talking about the real world, you know," he he said during his first campaign stop in Davenport, Iowa.
"They're not talking about radical Islamic terrorism," the New York businessman continued. "They're not talking about borders where people just pour across. They're not talking about the crime, the kind of crime that we have in this nation. They're not talking about the fact that many people in our country are making less money today in terms of real wages than they were making 18 years ago. They're not talking about that."
Democrats’ convention lineup has included soaring speeches from President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and First Lady Michelle Obama, among others, painting a far sunnier picture of the nation than the one Trump described in what critics called a dark and gloomy speech at the Republican National Convention last week.
"America is already great. America is already strong," Obama said during his speech on Wednesday. "And I promise you, our strength, our greatness, does not depend on Donald Trump."
Along with Obama, most of the Democratic speakers have taken aim at Trump, calling him everything from a “demagogue” to a “con man." Trump called their comments “lies” and said he had planned to “hit a number of those speakers so hard their heads would spin, they'd never recover."
But in an uncharacteristic display of restraint, Trump said took the advice of an unnamed governor not to respond to the Democrats who attacked him and to focus instead on Clinton.
“He said, 'Don't hit there. Don't hit down. You have one person to beat, it's Hillary Rodham Clinton,” Trump said of the advice he was given.
And while Trump said he “really” wanted to attack, because “it makes me feel good,” he ultimately took the governor’s advice, laying off all but one speaker: New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, whom he called “the worst mayor in the United States.”
The Democratic National Convention was closing out its fourth and final day as Trump made his evening stop in Cedar Rapids, and it again offered a stark contrast to the GOP presidential nominee’s rhetoric and policy proposals. Trump opened his rally there with his frequent lament that the U.S. Bans torture, leaving American soldiers at a disadvantage in fighting ISIS.
“They can chop off heads. They can drown people in steel cages. They can cut your throats. We can’t waterboard,” he said. “Well, we’re playing by different rules."
At the same time in Philadelphia, Khizr Khan, the father of a U.S. Army captain who was killed trying to save his soldiers and awarded the Bronze Star posthumously, delivered an impassioned indictment of Trump’s anti-Muslim rhetoric and policies.
"If it was up to Donald Trump, [my son, Humayun] never would have been in America," Khan said. "Donald Trump consistently smears the character of Muslims. He disrespects other minorities, women, judges, even his own party leadership. He vows to build walls and ban us from this country."
While Trump insisted all day Thursday he was the only candidate that truly understood the challenges facing Americans, and the only one who could solve them, it seemed the Democratic convention still wasn’t far from his mind — he even acknowledged that Clinton was likely to enjoy a bump in the polls, like he did following the GOP convention.