NEWTON, Iowa. -- Donald Trump doesn't understand why so few companies provide affordable, in-house child care for their employees like he does at some of his companies.
"It's not expensive for a company to do it," Trump said during a town hall at a community college in this small town on Thursday afternoon. "You need one person or two people, and you need some blocks and you need some swings and some toys. You know, surely, it's not expensive. It's not an expensive thing. I do it all over, and I get great people because of it... It's something that can be done, I think, very easily by a company."
Trump's comments came after a woman asked him what he would do as president to provide workers, especially working mothers, with more access to affordable child care. The woman's question was lengthy and jam-packed with statistics, prompting Trump to quiz her on why she was asking the question.
"It's funny because it's not something you hear as much about as you would think," Trump said, saying he hears many more questions about student loan debt and job creation. "Do you work with your husband? Are you both working?"
The questioner stammered and then said: "Actually, I don't have kids."
Trump smirked: "Now I feel better about if I don't give much of an answer."
But Trump answered the question any way, saying that several of his companies provide in-house child care for employees. This allows parents to drop their kids off on their way to work in the morning, visit over lunch and pick them up as soon as the day is over.
"We have two of them," Trump explained. "They call them Trump Kids. Another one calls it Trumpateers, if you can believe it… It's cute."
Trump took a number of questions during an hour-long town hall organized by a Des Moines television station that broadcast the event live. Trump arrived late to the set, forcing the host to sit next to an empty chair and ad lib for nearly nine minutes. About 350 people were in the audience and, afterwards, most of those people moved to another room for a rally with Trump, where he again answered questions.
This was one of the smallest crowds Trump has spoken before in recent weeks, having addressed more than 10,000 people the night before in Massachusetts. And Trump's tone reflected that. His voice was softer as he seemed to try to connect with those in the audience, at one point asking a random woman if he could stay with her because he didn't want to leave the state. Trump said he first learned about the small town of Newton, located about 35 miles east of Des Moines, from a 60 Minutes segment several years ago that examined the fallout of the local Maytag factory shutting down. That inspired Trump to reach out to some of the local residents featured in the show and offer to help them get back on their feet. At the Thursday evening rally, two of those guys joined Trump on the stage and recounted how the billionaire had helped them when no elected official would.
Trump rarely strayed from his usual talking points during his visit. He praised the tradition of the Iowa caucuses as "something beautiful." He said that while he feels sorry for Syrian refugees, he does not want any of them in the United States. He talked about bringing jobs back from Mexico and China so that more products have a "Made in the USA" tag on them. He slammed rival Ben Carson for his lack of foreign policy experience and said the retired doctor's campaign is in a "free fall." He criticized Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) for spending more time fundraising than working for his constituents in Washington.