“We didn’t have much of a ground game because I didn’t think I was going to be winning,” Trump said on Fox News Tuesday. “That’s why I’m so honored to have come in second. Most people said I wouldn’t be in the top 10 originally when I started in Iowa.”
“And yeah, in retrospect, we could have done much better with the ground game, yes,” he added.
The campaign was frequently criticized in the run-up to the election by Iowa operatives who said Trump’s team had not invested in a strong infrastructure in the state. Trump’s campaign downplayed that scrutiny at the time, even as attention turned to the Cruz team’s laser-like focus on voter outreach and turnout. The caucuses Monday were the first test of Trump’s ability to translate the energy fueling his candidacy into something more tangible: votes.
The billionaire showman stressed Tuesday that Cruz and other candidates spent more money in Iowa than he did, retroactively lowering expectations after weeks of remaining bullish about his chances of coming in first place.