"I love the tea party!" he told the crowd during a meandering, hourlong speech at a Christian music venue and skateboard park, making the case that they hadn't been treated fairly.
"The tea party people are incredible people. These are people that work hard and they love the country and then they get just beat up all the time by the media," he added. "You don't know the power that you have."
The event came the day after Trump held a glitzy $100-per-person campaign event — which he repeatedly insisted wasn't a fundraiser — outside of Boston.
Trump said the money raised was only to offset the costs of the event and said people attending could choose to pay whatever they wanted.
But multiple signs posted at the property's entrance and along a staffed check-in table told those arriving to "Please have cash ready or make checks payable to: Donald J. Trump for President, Inc." Another read, "Entry Fee $100 Per Person."
On Saturday, Trump expressed frustration that coverage of Friday's event focused on the discrepancy.
"I got so angry at my people because somebody put up a sign saying $100," he said.
Donald Trump courts tea party voters in Nashville
Saturday, August 29, 2015
By: Associated Press