Donald Trump took time out of his campaigning schedule to hand out pizza to his supporters and even signed the top of one enthusiastic fan.
He made the first of five planned visits to Iowa on Wednesday and addressed crowds in Maquoketa and Dubuque as he seeks to win the Republican Party’s 2024 presidential nomination.
But the former president, 77, was later spotted giving out pizza to delighted fans at Kathy’s Treehouse Pub & Eatery in Bettendorf.
Trump was filmed handing people boxes, signing autographs and engaging with the crowd who chanted: ‘We want Trump’.
It comes as he brushes off claims he told an aide she should deny any knowledge of classified documents at Mar-a-Lago.
Donald Trump took time out of his campaigning schedule to hand out pizza to his supporters
The former president, 77, was spotted giving out pizza to delighted fans at Kathy’s Treehouse Pub & Eatery in Bettendorf
Trump was seen signing the tank top of an enthusiastic waitress before he inked her forearm
A video was shared on X of Trump giving a helping hand to staff at Kathy’s Treehouse Pub & Eatery where more than a hundred people were gathered.
He was seen picking up pizza boxes and giving them to members of the excited crowd. ‘Take it man,’ the former president is heard telling one fan.
While another man is heard shouting: ‘Who wants pizza from Trump,’ before the packed audience begins to scream.
Trump then hands a box to a woman and says: ‘Here you go, here darling.’
The crowd began to chant ‘we want Trump’ as the former president was signing an autograph for a fan.
He was even spotted signing the top of an enthusiastic waitress before he inked her forearm and she stuck her tongue out in glee.
She was heard saying: ‘We’re so honored to have you here, thank you so much. We love you. My dad’s your number one fan and we all are.’
Trump then turned to the crowd and began to orchestrate cheers as he gave out high fives and handshakes.
They screamed his name and sang along to Lee Greenwood’s ‘God Bless the USA’.
It is not the first time Trump has turned up to a restaurant and addressed his supporters.
He stopped by a local pizzeria in April after giving a long speech in Fort Myers where he asked fans if they wanted to enjoy the slice he had already bitten.
Trump visited Downtown House of Pizza and its owners said they were ‘truly honored’.
The former president also went straight to the iconic Cuban restaurant Versailles after his appearance in Miami federal court in June.
He offered to buy food for everyone and listened to customers sing ‘Happy Birthday’.
‘Food for everyone!’ Trump shouted in the famous eatery in the surprise stop after he pleaded not guilty to 37 federal charges related to his mishandling of classified documents.
Earlier on Wednesday, he addressed a crowd of more than 1,000 people in the small-town Maquoketa as part of his campaign.
A video was shared on X of Trump giving a helping hand to staff at Kathy’s Treehouse Pub & Eatery where more than a hundred people were gathered
The waitress who received Trump’s signature was heard telling him: ‘We’re so honored to have you here, thank you so much. We love you. My dad’s your number one fan and we all are’
Trump 2.0 is different from the 2016 or 2020 version.
Trump 2.0 is Retail politics > Rallies and events.
Trump 2.0 hands out pizzas to Iowa voters: “We want pizza from Trump!”
Trump 2.0 is Trump at a pub. Trump at an Dairy Queen.
Trump 2.0 is ignoring a canned,¿ pic.twitter.com/2pvkyeujIb
— Charlie Kirk (@charliekirk11) September 20, 2023
‘In less than four months from now, we’re going to win the Iowa caucuses in a historic landslide,’ Trump predicted.
He urged those in attendance to support him in the January 15 caucuses and asked them to bring friends along.
On display was his team’s promised commitment to better organize in Iowa than it did in 2016, when Trump finished a close second to Texas Senator Ted Cruz.
Supporters from across northeast Iowa had lined up outside the expo building at the Jackson County fairgrounds hours before Trump’s arrival.
Trump addressed his 2016 loss at the start of his speech, blaming his previous campaign team.
‘They didn’t do the caucus thing too well and I learned a lot,’ Trump acknowledged, adding: ‘I don’t like second, though.’
At a second event in Dubuque, Trump laced into Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, whom he has long treated as his chief target, as he touted the efforts of his administration to help Iowa farmers and crack down on illegal immigration.
Trump recited a poem he sometimes reads about a woman who invites a sick, frozen snake into her home, only to be bitten.
‘That’s what’s happening in our country,’ he said.
His campaigning in Iowa followed claims he told an aide to deny any knowledge of classified documents at Mar-a-Lago.
Trump turned to the crowd and began to orchestrate cheers as he gave out high fives and handshakes
Molly Michael began working for Trump in the White House in 2018 and carried on as his aide after he left.
She resigned last year over his alleged refusal to return documents he took from the White House, and has since testified to the January 6 Committee.
On Tuesday, ABC News reported she had told investigators looking into Trump’s handling of classified documents he tried to silence her.
After Trump heard the FBI wanted to interview Michael last year, sources told ABC, Trump allegedly told her: ‘You don’t know anything about the boxes.’
Michael grew increasingly concerned about Trump’s response to the repeated requests from the National Archives office for the return of the classified documents he had taken, the sources said.
She felt that there were many people around Mar-a-Lago who could ‘easily’ disprove his public statements that all the documents had been handed back.
Michael even told Trump that many people, among them maintenance workers, had seen the boxes at Mar-a-Lago and knew there were many more than the 15 he claimed.
And she told investigators, according to ABC’s sources, that Trump well knew there were classified documents in the boxes, because he was familiar with their contents and had been shown a photo of a storage room with all 90 or so boxes in it.
The indictment against Trump for mishandling classified documents and refusing to hand them back alleges that Trump asked one of his attorneys at the time: ‘Wouldn’t it be better if we just told them we don’t have anything here?’
Molly Michael testified about note cards before the House January 6 Committee
Michael, left, is seen on May 1, 2020 with Johnny McEntee, the former Director of the Presidential Personnel Office
Piles of boxes of classified documents are pictured in Mar-a-Lago
Documents were stored in the bathrooms – with so many boxes they were even stacked in the bath
In June last year, Trump’s attorney, Evan Corcoran, supervised a search for classified documents at Mar-a-Lago and handed over 38 to the FBI, signing a statement confirming that the subpoena for the documents had been fully complied with.
But officials did not believe Trump had been straight with them, and launched an unannounced search of the property in August, finding a further 102 papers.
Michael told investigators there were even more.
She said she returned to work after the raid – she had not been in her office at the time – and found her desk in disarray, she noticed that To Do lists Trump had prepared for her were still there, buried under papers.
The To Do lists were scribbled on the back of documents with classified markings, she said.
Michael has not commented on ABC’s report.
Steven Cheung, a spokesman for Trump, said ABC’s report was from ‘illegal leaks’ of the investigation, and lacked ‘proper context’.
Cheung said that the Justice Department needed to urgently investigate the leaks.
‘These illegal leaks are coming from sources which totally lack proper context and relevant information,’ he said.
‘The Department of Justice should investigate the criminal leaking, instead of perpetrating their baseless witch hunts.’