Gov. Terry Branstad (R-Iowa) said in an interview released Tuesday that Donald TrumpDonald John Trump2020 Democrats spar over socialism ahead of first debate Senate passes .5 billion border bill, setting up fight with House 'Teflon Don' avoids the scorn of the 'family values' GOP — again MORE is changing the way presidential candidates seek the White House.

“We’ve never had anybody with quite the character of Donald Trump,” he said on USA Today’s “Capital Download."


“He has certainly rewritten the rulebook,” Branstad told host Susan Page. "He has tremendous media presence. I think it’s a tribute to the interest people have in restoring America’s greatness. They are very unhappy with the way things are going in Washington, D.C.”

Branstad argued that the surge of Iowans supporting Trump recalls the rise of then-Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) in his state in 2008.

“The turnout [Trump] gets at his events are beyond anything we’ve ever seen before, I guess, except for Barack Obama eight years ago on the Democratic side,” he said.

“[Trump is] tapping into a lot of concern and a lot of people who feel the establishment has failed the country and we need new leadership,” Branstad continued about the GOP presidential front-runner.

“I think the bigger turnout the better it is for him,” he added of Trump’s chances in Monday’s Iowa caucuses. "I think it’s going to exceed any turnout we’ve had before.”

Branstad added that everyday Americans are not surprised by Trump’s bombastic rhetoric given the billionaire’s entertainment background.

“It’s hard to be shocked by anything he says,” he said, addressing Trump’s recent remarks that he could shoot a random bystander and not lose voter support.

“People are so sick and tired of political correctness that they kind of accept Donald Trump as somebody who tells it like it is. They know there’s a certain amount of hyperbole in everything he says.”

Trump is locked in a fierce battle with Ted Cruz heading toward Iowa’s first-in-the-nation caucuses on Feb. 1.

About 6 points separates the two rivals there, with Trump edging past Cruz in the latest RealClearPolitics average of polls.