Private jet travel is the last thing any candidate would highlight in a normal presidential campaign.
This one is not normal.
Republican Donald Trump swooped back into Iowa on Saturday with a dramatic fly-by to show off his 757 to cheering supporters awaiting him in a chilly airplane hangar on the outskirts of this small city on the Mississippi River.
After he landed, the majestic theme from the Hollywood thriller “Air Force One” blasted from loudspeakers as Trump's jet rolled into place behind his makeshift stage. The Manhattan billionaire waved from the top of the staircase, walked down to the microphone and started cracking jokes about the government overpaying for the new Air Force One.
“Do you think I could have made a better deal than that?” he asked.
The cheering crowd of perhaps a few hundred occupied less than half the hangar, a tepid turnout by Trump standards.
Trump used the plane as the main prop for his remarks, inviting kids in the audience to come aboard after the rally.
“We’ll let them run through the plane, does that sound good?” he asked. “I don’t want the parents running through, because the parents will damage it, right?”
Trump went on to complain that Iran was using frozen assets that were released as part of its recent nuclear deal to buy airplanes in Europe.
“They didn’t order beautiful Boeings like that,” Trump said, gesturing toward his jet. “They could have it for the right price, too, I tell you.”
Trump also wedged his plane into a critique of Ted Cruz, his chief rival in Monday's Iowa caucuses. He cast the Texas senator as beholden to Goldman Sachs, mocking Cruz for an undisclosed loan to his 2012 Senate campaign from the Wall Street bank.
“When I fly on that big plane, I’m paying for it – I’m not having Goldman Sachs pay for it,” he said.
Trump said he’d come to love Iowa and was thinking about buying a farm here. “Is your farm for sale?” he asked someone in the crowd.
Trump urged supporters to brave potentially stormy weather moving in as the caucuses approach. “You’re from Iowa – are you afraid of snow?” he asked.
As Trump’s motorcade prepared to leave for more rallies in towns along the Mississippi, a cluster of children bounded up the stairs and boarded his plane to look around.