LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:
Donald Trump returned to Iowa yesterday where the race with Hillary Clinton remains very close. Trump was there for Iowa freshman Senator Joni Ernst. Her Roast and Ride fundraiser features a motorcycle ride and a barbecue. Also there, Iowa Public Radio's Clay Masters.
CLAY MASTERS, BYLINE: The Roast and Ride kicked off in the parking lot of a Harley Davidson dealership in Des Moines.
JONI ERNST: Let's get this ride started.
MASTERS: Senator Joni Ernst led the group of more than 400 riders on a 42-mile trip that ended on the Iowa State Fairgrounds. Trump did not participate in the ride. Beth Smith did. She's a small business owner in the central Iowa town of Melbourne. While many Republican leaders in other states are distancing themselves from Trump, Smith says she's glad Iowa leaders like Senator Ernst are supporting him.
BETH SMITH: I'm sorry, but the majority of the people, you know, are the ones who voted him into that position who got him there to begin with. You know, you can't just ignore what we've asked for.
MASTERS: And one by one, Iowa's top Republicans took the stage at the fairground's Livestock Pavilion and praised Trump. Iowa's other U.S. senator, Chuck Grassley, was there. Governor Terry Branstad introduced Trump.
TERRY BRANSTAD: And a man who supports agriculture and the working people in the heartland of this great country. He's going to make America great again. Please join me in welcoming our next president of the United States, Donald Trump.
MASTERS: This appearance offered a different side of Trump that Iowa hasn't seen much. He stuck to the teleprompter as he talked about issues specific to Iowa.
DONALD TRUMP: We are going to end the EPA intrusion into your family homes and into your family farms for no reason. What they're doing to you is a disgrace.
MASTERS: Trump also made a play for minority voters. He referenced the cousin of NBA player Dwayne Wade who was shot in Chicago. This came after initial criticism that Trump had politicized the killing.
TRUMP: It breaks all of our hearts to see it. It's horrible. It's horrible, and it's only getting worse. This shouldn't happen in our country. This shouldn't happen in America.
MASTERS: Iowa Republican Party chairman Jeff Kaufmann says Trump needs the support of the state's GOP leaders.
JEFF KAUFMANN: I see this as a dogfight all the way down. I don't really see huge up and downs, and every vote's going to count.
MASTERS: Trump might really need those high-profile Iowa Republicans to pull it off in November. After all, he came in second here in the Iowa caucuses back in February. For NPR News, I'm Clay Masters in Des Moines.
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