Trump likes this quote, attributed to golfer Walter Hagen, so much that he tweeted it twice, months apart.
But following his loss in the GOP Iowa caucus to Sen. Ted Cruz, Trump has tried to paint his second place finish in a positive light. The presidential contender gave an unexpectedly gracious concession speech on Monday night, congratulating the Texas lawmaker and saying he was “honored” to come in second.
It was a significant departure from his previous attitude on toppling his fellow candidates in the Hawkeye State. Trump expressed his high hopes for the contest at a rally on January 13. “I think I’m going to win Iowa,” Trump said. “You know, a lot of people say ‘it was so foolish that he said he thinks he’s gonna win.’ They’d like me to say, ‘I’ll do well.’ That way if you don’t win, you know… I don’t care.”
The weekend before the caucus was held, Trump continued to emphasize the need to prevail over his rivals. “We have to win in Iowa,” Trump told a crowd. ”You know, a lot of people say, ‘Donald, just say do well in Iowa.’ I say, ‘I can’t do that.’”
He stressed the importance on emerging victorious yet again on January 31. “16 years and you haven’t picked a winner,” Trump said, alluding to the fact that Iowa Republicans have not chosen the eventual nominee since George W. Bush in 2000. Former Gov. Mike Huckabee and former Sen. Rick Santorum won in the state in 2008 and 2012, but ultimately lost the nomination to Sen. John McCain and former Gov. Mitt Romney. “Please pick a winner this time, okay? I’m gonna win.”
But Trump’s bluntest assessment of an Iowa defeat came on Saturday: “Unless I win, I would consider it a big, fat, beautiful – and by the way, very expensive – waste of time.”
These are just a fraction of Trump’s extensive statements on the virtue of victory. In addition to the video compilation above, here is a sampling of Trump’s public stance on winners, losers and the value of first place, expressed in tweets, speeches, books and interviews over the years.
In an interview with CNN on August 10, 2015: “I do whine because I want to win, and I’m not happy about not winning, and I am a whiner, and I keep whining and whining until I win.”
In his book, “TrumpNation: The Arts of Being The Donald,” published in 2005: “If you don’t win, you can’t get away with it. And I win, I win, I always win. In the end, I always win, whether it’s in golf, whether it’s in tennis, whether it’s in life, I just always win. And I tell people I always win, because I do.”
In an interview with Breitbart last month: “My life has been about winning. I like to win. I like to close the deal.”
Will Iowa make Trump rethink his hard-line stance on losers? One thing is for sure: Trump isn’t taking his second-place loss to Cruz quietly.