Saturday saw the Donald Trump campaign belatedly respond to an attempt from Florida’s First Lady to bring supporters from around the country to sway the Iowa caucuses.
“Casey DeSantis’ embrace of voter fraud to salvage her husband’s failing campaign is not just wrong, it risks compromising the integrity of the Iowa Caucus. This type of irresponsible and desperate rhetoric must be addressed by both Ron DeSantis and Governor Kim Reynolds, who campaigned for election integrity and was elected to protect the votes of Iowans. Both Governors DeSantis and Reynolds must reject and condemn these comments and apologize to the great people of Iowa,” argued Karoline Leavitt, spokeswoman for Make America Great Again Inc.
A statement from the formal campaign itself, unattributed to a specific person, made the same case.
“Safe and secure elections are the bedrock of our democracy, and either the DeSantises are purposefully spreading false information or they are too uninformed about the Iowa Caucus to properly educate caucus-goers on how to participate in the process. These people have no idea what they’re doing and are simply engaging in play-pretend politics.”
The Trump campaign urged Reynolds to “clarify what the rules are and that the instructions given by the DeSantises are flagrantly wrong that could further disenfranchise caucus-goers. Even the Republican Party of Iowa had to immediately issue a response to the DeSantises’ wrong information.”
“The DeSantises specifically said they were calling on their campaign coalition groups of out-of-state, non-Iowa residents to illegally ‘descend on the caucus’ and try to cast a vote. The Trump campaign strongly condemns their dirty and illegal tactics and implores all Trump supporters to be aware of the DeSantises’ openly stated plot to rig the Caucus through fraud,” they added.
The objections come in the wake of a First Couple appearance on Fox News Friday.
“We’re asking all of these moms and grandmoms to come from wherever it might be — North Carolina, South Carolina — and descend upon the state of Iowa to be a part of the caucus because you do not have to be a resident of Iowa to be able to participate in the caucus. So moms and grandmoms are going to be able to come and be a part and let their voice be heard in support of Ron DeSantis,” she said.
Casey DeSantis clarified these comments during an event in Iowa later on Friday, noting that the campaign knows “that they cannot vote in the caucus process, but they can come and volunteer and they can be a part of it in that way, so you’re seeing people from North Carolina, from South Carolina, from Florida, in particular coming because they feel so strongly about protecting the future of their kids.
The Iowa GOP notes that all caucus participants must actually live in the state, meanwhile, throwing cold water on those supporters’ vacation plans. This comes after Gov. DeSantis suggested that Iowa should hold caucuses in Florida, an idea that got no traction.