Trump defends the Tea Party

(REUTERS) - Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump took his fiery rhetoric to Nashville on Saturday where he courted a constituency some say is a perfect political fit for him: the Tea Party.

"I love the Tea Party," said Mr Trump, addressing the National Federation of Republican Assemblies, a group that claims it was "the Tea Party" before there was a Tea Party.

"Tea Party people, stand up and take a bow. You have not been treated fairly," said Mr Trump, touting them as hardworking Americans who get "beaten up" by the media.

"You don't know how big you are," he said to the cheering crowd.

The real estate mogul hit all the major issues that resonate with the Tea Party, showing his anger at conventional politics and distrust of special interests and lobbyists.

"I'm a Republican, I'm a conservative. But I'm just as angry with the Republicans, because they go to Washington, something happens. They become weak," said Mr Trump. "It won't happen to me. I promise."

A new Quinnipiac University Poll this week highlighted the widespread aversion to D.C. insiders, showing that 73 percent of Republicans believe someone who is a "D.C. outsider" would make a better president than a candidate with Washington experience.