Donald Trump concedes defeat to Ted Cruz and heads out of Iowa

Polls had suggested Mr Trump was going to win Monday night's vote

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The Independent Online

An unusually subdued Donald Trump conceded defeat to rival Ted Cruz and very hurriedly made his way out of Iowa.

Having been smiling the smile of a happy Cheshire cat since a poll on Saturday night placed him a clear five points ahead, Mr Trump appeared before supporters in Des Moines to thank them for their work, and to claim he would win in New Hampshire, which votes next week.

“I was told by everybody, 'Do not go to Iowa. You could never finish even in the top 10’'," Mr Trump said at the Sheraton hotel, where what had been planned as a victory party became something very different.

Donald Trump campaigned hard in Iowa

"They said, 'Don’t do it'. I said, 'I have to do it'. And we finished second. And I want to tell you something, I’m just honoured."

He added: "I'm really honoured. And I want to congratulate Ted, and I want to congratulate all of the incredible candidates, including Mike Huckabee, who has become a really good friend of mine."

Mr Trump’s words of congratulation for Mr Cruz, who secured 28 points compared to his 24, were in stark contrast to the attacks and insults he has been leveling at the Texas senator in recent weeks.

Mr Trump left the Sheraton hotel in Des Moines after speaking to supporters

Mr Trump had accused Mr Cruz of being a liar and questioned whether he was even permitted to be president, given that he was born in Canada.

Recent polls had given Mr Trump a clear lead over Mr Cruz in New Hampshire, but things could easily change, now that Mr Trump has been shown not to be invincible. Another very obvious threat to Mr Trump will be Marco Rubio, who was third and secured 23 points.

His performance was better than many had expected and Mr Rubio will now expect to secure support and donations from establishment Republicans who dislike both Mr Cruz and Mr Trump.

Mr Trump finished his speech by saying he would still go on to win.

"We will go on to get the Republican nomination, and we will go on to easily beat Hillary or Bernie or whoever the hell they throw up there," he said.

Having spoken, Mr Trump and his family were seen leaving the hotel in a small convoy of vehicles, led by a police escort.