Trump’s fair scene in Iowa misses DeSantis as the former president is joined by officials in Florida


DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The helicopter has disappeared, however Donald Trump Saturday renewed his reputation for defying convention and creating a huge celebrity spectacle at the Iowa State Fair.

Trump, in less than two hours on the steamboat fairgrounds in Des Moines, drew thousands of sweaty, cheering supporters to his stops at the Iowa Pork Producers tent, the Children’s Farm animal exhibit and the famous Grand Concourse pub.

All the while, Trump has subtly tried to set himself apart from Florida. Ron DeSantisTrump’s main rival more than five months ago Iowa caucuses It was at the fairgrounds at the same time.

Just as DeSantis and his family were wrapping up their day at the fair, meeting with Republican leaders and activists in Iowa, Trump plunged into a large crowd of supporters accompanied by about a dozen members of the US House of Representatives in Florida, shooting DeSantis making an aggressive move. Stadium for Republicans in Iowa.

Trump spoke little to the public in his short time at the fair, except to speak one-on-one with some of the fair’s visitors. However, during remarks to hundreds crowded in favored candidate Steer and Stein, he repeated the proven claim that the 2020 election was “rigged,” and that “we got millions and millions more votes.”

Instead, while most candidates seeking caucus support tout political endorsements for Iowa, Trump spent most of his public remarks introducing Florida lawmakers who traveled with him to Iowa. Trump aides said the effort shows the sentiments of those who know DeSantis best, but also clearly sparks anger among those who feel the former president has been persecuted by the two federal indictments he now faces.

“So, to all my friends in Iowa when you see them coming for this guy, know that they’re coming for this movement, and they’re coming for all of us,” said Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-FL.

Before taking his three kids for bumper car rides and a Ferris wheel, DeSantis bragged to the delegation of Iowa state lawmakers he had surrounded when reporters asked about the Florida representatives surrounding Trump.

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds hosted interviews with former Vice Presidential candidate Mike Pence and North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum during the Iowa State Fair.

“I think it’s good to bring in people from Washington,” he said, “but I think Iowans really care about the people in their communities.”

DeSantis and other showrunners called out Trump for his criticism Governor Kim Reynoldswho pledged impartiality and hosted a series of one-on-one talks that most GOP candidates accepted but Trump declined.

“This is how he works, to attack one of the best conservatives in the country,” DeSantis said. “I think we as Republicans should be thankful and proud to see other Republicans do a good job.”

Most of the candidates paid tribute to Reynolds throughout their appearances on the show and enjoyed their company while walking around the fairgrounds or flipping burgers.

Former Vice President Mike Pence said it was “for Governor Kim Reynolds before the weather was great.” Entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy encouraged show-goers to give her a round of applause.

Trump also sought to de-escalate the tension between him and Reynolds on Saturday even though he did not appear with her. But speaking about the drama with Reynolds, Trump repeated his claim that he was responsible for her election. Trump campaigned with Reynolds during her 2018 bid, which she narrowly won. She won re-election by a much larger margin in 2022.

“I have a very nice relationship with her,” he said. “She was elected.”

For Team Trump, there was not a trace of concern in the air — given the concentration of supporters, the diversity of ages and the sea of ​​Make America Great Again hats — about Trump was indicted this month over changes to a federal felony that he worked to overturn the 2020 election in the lead-up Violent riot by his supporters at the US Capitol On January 6, 2021.

Pausing briefly to speak with reporters, he declined to say whether he would comply with a protective order from the judge overseeing the election conspiracy case, which limited what the former president could say publicly about the evidence in the investigation while on the campaign trail.

“I’m going to have to take a look at it,” Trump said. “It’s all fake – Biden put it, because they can’t win the election the fair way.”

When asked later if he would agree to plead guilty to lesser charges, Trump called the reporter a “wise man.” “We don’t do plea deals,” he said.

In 2015, as the fledgling Republican presidential candidate, Trump attracted attention at the fair by offering to give children rides on his personal helicopter. In a suit and tie, the then-celebrity and New York real estate executive was very different from the candidates who usually wear jeans and cowboy boots.

And in the same brazen style Saturday, Trump’s Boeing 757 flew over the fairgrounds just before landing as DeSantis manned the grill in the Iowa Pork Producers tent.

It was one of several episodes this year in Iowa where Trump sought to outsmart DeSantis while they were in the state. DeSantis is trailing Trump in national and Iowa polls, but is seen early in the race as his strongest potential challenger, and he recently raced to Iowa in an effort to land an early blow to the former president who remains hugely popular within the GOP base.

Cheers of “Trump, Trump, Trump” broke out at the three stops as the former president — dressed in a blue suit, but this time in an open-collar shirt — walked the crowd shoulder-to-shoulder.

Although many of Trump’s stops were out of the ordinary, at the ham tent he bowed to fair state protocol.

He carried a piece of pork on a stick to the crowd and waved it.

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