CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- President Donald Trump covered a wide range of topics in a 75 minute speech at the U.S. Cellular Center in Cedar Rapids Wednesday night.
Trump touched down early at the Eastern Iowa Airport and headed to Kirkwood Community College, where he toured agriculture technology innovations, then reveled in Karen Handel's victory in a Georgia special election.
"We're 5-0 in special elections," said Trump.
Trump's stop at Kirkwood was intended to draw attention to the school's advancements in high-tech agriculture.
During the tour, Trump marveled at a "combine simulator," which is a virtual way to practice using a combine. After the tour, Trump told supporters at Kirkwood that he had "just learned more about farming than I ever thought I'd learn."
He was joined by Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.
Trump also paid tribute to former Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, whom he had appointed the United States' ambassador to China. He hailed Branstad as "a legend" and "one great man." Branstad was the longest-serving governor in the nation's history and an early Trump backer.
Branstad traveled with Trump to Iowa on Air Force One. They were greeted at the airport by Iowa's new governor, Kim Reynolds.
At a campaign-style rally at the U.S. Cellular Center, the president told his audience he was "dealt a very difficult hand" as president, with crises brewing in North Korea and the Middle East.
"This was a tough hand. But you put me there for a reason and I think you're going to be very happy with the end result."
President Trump also touted his administration's commitment to agriculture and said he will urge technology upgrades for rural communities, including rural broadband Internet access.
Trump also said he would push for technology like drones and sensors on harvesting equipment, so American farmers can compete with foreign agriculture interests. And he pledged to get rid of the estate tax, which he called the "death tax," and protect corn-based ethanol.
The president said he urged Senate Republicans to add more money to their health care plan because he wants a plan with "heart," and suggested he would be willing to change the bill Republicans are crafting if Democrats would come onboard.
"A few votes from the Democrats, it could be so easy" and "so beautiful," Trump said.
The president also mused about putting solar panels on his proposed wall on the Mexican border. He said that a solar wall would "create energy and pay for itself," and joked it would mean Mexico "will have to pay much less money" to build it. Trump claimed as a candidate that Mexico would fully fund his impenetrable border wall - a plan Mexico rejected.
The wall was a signature campaign promise, but has not been at the center of the White House's agenda. Construction has not yet begun.
The president also saluted rural areas for voting for him in last November's election.
Trump has wrapped up his more than one hour speech at the U.S. Cellular Center.
"I want to thank the people of Iowa. You are incredible people and I want to thank you for your support."
"I said that I was coming back and that I would do great things for the people of Iowa and I have."
Trumps says the purpose of his visit to the Middle East was to make sure countries there do not fund terrorism any longer.
Trump says US airports are like 3rd world countries and names New York area airports.
"It would be great if the Republicans and Democrats could come together and get great legislation passed."
"We're straightening out our country. No matter our beliefs, no matter our party, it's time we start remembering we're all in this together."
"We are making such incredible progress that nobody can believe."
"We're going to have a strong military and a strong defense."
"Every single day we find gang members, predators, killers and we are throwing them the hell out of our country."
"After years of lawlessness, America is now enforcing its laws. Since I have been president, illegal border crossings have dropped more than 75 percent."
"We're reversing the last administration's policies that resulted in a huge increase in crime."
"We're thinking about building the (US-Mexico border) wall as a solar wall so it will generate energy and pay for itself. That way Mexico will pay less."
Trumps says those wishing to immigrate to the U.S must be able to support themselves and not use welfare for at least 5 years. They must embrace "our values and love our people."
"When I campaigned for president I promised to leave or renegotiate any deal that did not serve America."
"You should have the right to pass your farm along to your children and grandchildren."
Trump takes credit for the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines.
"We're saving your ethanol industries in Iowa, just as I promised we would."
Trump says American will use all forms of energy, including coal.
"We've achieved a great increase in military spending and created an office of accountability at Veterans Affairs."
Trump says unemployment is at a 16 year low and manufacturing is doing great.
"The truth is people love us, all of us."
"We're working really hard on massive tax cuts. It would be the largest single tax cuts in the history of America. We are the highest taxed nation in the world. But we're going to have one of the lowest taxes in the world."
"If we got the greatest health care plan in history we wouldn't get one single Democratic vote because they're obstructionists."
"I'm fighting for you and your hopes. Because your hopes are my hopes, your dreams are my dreams. We're going to make America great again."
"I am not beholden to special interests or consultants. I don't care about them."
Trump says he was given a bad hand but will make the U.S. great again.
"As of a few months ago, our country has spent $6 trillion and thousands of young, beautiful lives. And it's worse than when we started 16 years ago."
"After spending billions of dollars defending other people's borders we are finally going to defend our borders."
"From the moment I took that solemn oath of office and every day since I have put America first."
"We are here to celebrate our amazing progress."
"History is made by the dreamers."
Protestors interrupt Trump and is quickly drowned out by "USA" chants. Trump thanks police.
President Trump has wrapped up his speech and will now go the U.S. Cellular Center.
"We will rebuild rural America. Our rich soil provides a way of life."
"1 trillion dollar infrastructure proposal will include money for better rural broadband."
"Vocational training will help farmers and country "win, win, win" on global stage."
Trump says farming is an honorable profession and will work hard to get rid of the so-called "death tax" so farms can be passed on to children. He says we will protect the corn-based ethanol that powers our country.
Trump says both taxes and health care are coming along and his administration will be rebuilding the infrastructure on the U.S.
"We spent $6 trillion in the Middle East and got nothing. I was given a very difficult hand when I took over."
Trump says Republicans are 5 and 0 in special elections.
He congratulated Gov. Kim Reynolds and former Gov. Terry Branstad who is now ambassador to China. Thanks Branstad for his service.
He says his administration will always support family farmers.
Pres. Trump is speaking at Kirkwood Community College.
President Trump is heading to Cedar Rapids Wednesday evening, to rally the voters who put him into office in November, and to celebrate a nationally watched Republican congressional victory in an election some viewed as an early referendum on his presidency.
The president began his day reveling in Republican Karen Handel's victory in Georgia's special election. Political analysts saw the victory as a blow to Democrats who bolstered their anti-Trump sentiments in the most expensive U.S. House race in history. Trump tweeted Tuesday night, "we are all very proud of you."
The victory surge is expected to carry over in Mr. Trump's speech at a campaign-style rally at the U.S. Cellular Center, which begins at 7 p.m.
He seems poised to turn his Iowa trip into a celebration of his resilience despite the cloud of investigations that has enveloped his administration and sent his poll numbers tumbling.
This is the the president's first trip back to Iowa since he stopped in Des Moines in December during his "Thank You" tour. His last trip to Cedar Rapids was a campaign rally last October.
The president is scheduled to arrive at the Eastern Iowa Airport at 5:45 p.m.
He will tour the agricultural program at Kirkwood Community College, along with Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, at 6:20 p.m. The rally at the U.S. Cellular Center follows.
Mr. Trump plans to fly out of the Eastern Iowa Airport at 8 p.m.
KCRG-TV9 will show the president's airport arrival and tour of Kirkwood on Facebook Live and on KCRG dot com.
You can watch his rally live on KCRG 9.2.
And we will have complete coverage of President Trump's visit on the KCRG-TV9 News at 5, 6, and 10.
Check back for updates on KCRG.com