— -- Donald Trump experienced something he is not used to last night –- he lost a competition.
“My life has been about victories,” Trump told a crowd in Fort Dodge, Iowa, last November. In a state Trump really wanted to win and said as much, last night was not the result the real estate mogul was banking on.
“I want to win in Iowa, I want to really win, I don’t want to come in second,” Trump said in Cedar Rapids last month. “Smart would be to say, I want to do well. That way if I come in second everyone is going to say you did well. I don’t want to do that. I want to win, right?”
Yet last night in accepting second place -– Trump appeared to set that plan aside.
“We finished second and I want to tell you something. I'm just honored, I'm really honored,” the billionaire told his supporters who gathered after caucusing.
On Twitter this morning, Trump called his experience in Iowa “wonderful” but also felt he wasn’t being "given any credit by the voters for self-funding my campaign, the only one. I will keep doing, but not worth it!"
Despite the Iowa result, Trump is not slowing down, making multiple stops in New Hampshire this week, and will accept the endorsement of former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown later tonight. A source within the campaign says that more endorsements will be coming over the next several days.
On the campaign trail, Trump has said if he doesn’t win the White House, the entire journey has been a waste.
“If I don’t win I would never have done it again," he said. "I would wish I did not waste my time, because to me it would have been a big, fat, beautiful waste of time, and I really mean that,” he said in a press conference just before the New Year.
From the beginning, it seemed Trump was coming to win in the Hawkeye state. He hired a tested state director in Chuck Laudner, with two caucus victories under his belt with Gov. Mike Huckabee in 2008, and Sen Rick Santorum in 2012.
“Everybody wanted Chuck,” Trump said back in June, right around the time his presidential bid kicked off. He also brought in a familiar face to viewers of his hit NBC show “The Apprentice” in state co-chair Tana Goertz, who opened just about all of Trump’s rallies in Iowa telling the crowd to “buckle up” and “climb aboard the Trump train” along with educating voters on where to go to find their caucus locations.
At a campaign rally last month in Winterset, Iowa, Trump was again touting hiring Laudner.
"Well I think I feel very good about my ground game, we have a great group of people. Where's Chuck? Chuck, come here Chuck,” Trump said, calling Laudner over to the podium asking him to answer a reporter’s question about how he saw the race playing out.
“If he doesn't do good -- Chuck you’re fired,” Trump said laughing at the time.
"I feel fantastic about the ground game,” Laudner said then. “We feel really good about our chances, we feel really good about our reach and I think you’re going to have a surprise on caucus night.”
The surprise for Trump –- accepting second, not first place.