Ron DeSantis, Donald Trump stage dueling Iowa events

Trump DeSantis
The Hawkeye State is the center of the GOP world Saturday.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and former President Donald Trump will share the spotlight in Iowa on Saturday, providing a chance to sway influential conservative activists and contrast their campaign styles in Republicans’ leadoff voting state.

DeSantis, expected to announce his 2024 presidential campaign any day, is set to wade into Iowa’s hand-to-hand politicking at a congressman’s annual picnic and an Iowa Republican Party fundraiser, while Trump, a candidate since November, hopes to show strength with an outdoor rally with supporters.

Although the two men will be hours away from each other, the split-screen moment in Iowa is a first for the two national Republican powerhouses. It’s an early preview of a match-up between the former president, well ahead of his party rivals in early national polls, and DeSantis, who is viewed widely as his strongest potential challenger.

It will be DeSantis’ first trip to the early testing ground since the Florida legislature adjourned last week after spending months delivering the governor a conservative agenda that he’s expected to tout once he announces his campaign.

Trump, meanwhile, will be returning to the comfort of the campaign stage after a tumultuous week. On Tuesday, a civil jury in New York found him liable for sexually abusing and defaming advice columnist E. Jean Carroll and awarded her $5 million. A day later, during a contentious CNN town hall, he repeatedly insulted Carroll, reasserted lies about his 2020 election loss and minimized the violence at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

DeSantis has burnished his reputation as a conservative governor willing to push hard for conservative policies and even take on a political fight with Disney. But so far, he hasn’t shown the same zest for taking on Trump, and even before he’s entered the race, he’s facing questions about his ability to court donors and woo voters.

His visit to Iowa will provide a test of his personal appeal as he mingles with local Iowa Republican officials, donors and volunteers, all under the glare of the national media.

DeSantis made his first visit to Iowa in March, promoting his memoir at events that drew more than 1,000 people in Davenport and Des Moines. Although DeSantis shook hands along the rope line near the stage after the events, he didn’t have a lot of interaction with voters. This time, he can expect a crush of introductions to influential caucus activists in a more conversational setting who will be taking his measure for the first time.

More than 700 people are expected to attend the Sioux Center fundraising event for Rep. Randy Feenstra at Dean Classic Car Museum, as well as dozens of news reporters from around the country. Later, DeSantis plans to headline a state party fundraiser in Cedar Rapids that’s expected to draw about 300 influential eastern Iowa Republicans.

Trump, by contrast, is headlining a rally expected to draw several thousand people to an outdoor amphitheater in Des Moines’ Water Works Park on Saturday evening.

Although Trump aides said the Des Moines event was in the works before DeSantis’ plans were made public, he and his team have long seen the governor as his only serious challenger. They hope a large rally of Trump supporters Saturday fuels comparisons to the scale of their respective events.

Reporting courtesy of the Associated Press.

Associated Press


  • Dont Say FLA

    May 13, 2023 at 8:52 am

    I am convinced: Rhon DasPanties is an Anti-Intelligence bot that was created by Artificial Intelligence, sent from Tesla to wreck society via imposition of stupidity upon the public.

    • Impeach Biden

      May 13, 2023 at 9:09 am

      You have that now with the Joe Biden clown show. Let’s see the hologram debate anyone without his teleprompter and crib sheets.

      • Dont Say FLA

        May 15, 2023 at 8:26 am

        In that case, with trans-obsessed Rhonda being no improvement over Tupac Joe, we can just stick with Joe Biden and stop hassling different people whom we’ve been told are evil merely for their being different. I mean if I were going to pretend my guy was a celebrity, I’ll take Tupac for Joe rather than Photoshopping the Pumpkinhead’s face onto a fictional movie character from the 1970s.

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