Trump blasts DeSantis in Iowa, says GOP rival ‘despises’ the state’s ethanol

by Chloe Baker
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During his campaign event in Iowa, former President Donald Trump launched a scathing attack on Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, accusing him of harboring disdain for Iowa’s corn-based ethanol industry. This event marked Trump’s largest gathering in the state in nearly four months.

Addressing a crowd of over 1,000 Iowans and Nebraskans at the Mid-America Center in Council Bluffs, Trump criticized DeSantis, his primary rival for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, for his previous vote against the federal mandate supporting ethanol, which is a significant industry in Iowa. Trump emphasized his own support for Iowa’s ethanol production, claiming to be the most pro-farmer president in history.

Trump deliberately mispronounced DeSantis’ name as “DeSanctus” and alleged that he had been fighting against Iowa ethanol for years, even voting against it as a congressman and advocating for job losses. DeSantis’ campaign rejected these allegations, asserting that the attack was a distortion and affirming that DeSantis would be a strong advocate for farmers as president.

During his 80-minute speech, Trump touched on various topics, including his administration’s agricultural record, criticisms of DeSantis and President Joe Biden, and global events such as Russian President Vladimir Putin’s actions in Ukraine. He also expressed skepticism about climate change, dismissing it as global warming that would only create more beachfront property.

Trump highlighted his Supreme Court nominations and their role in overturning Roe v. Wade and ending affirmative action in college admissions. He urged Republicans to approach discussions about life after Roe carefully, presenting it as an opportunity for negotiation at the state and federal levels.

After taking questions from the audience, Trump concluded the event and made a stop at a local Dairy Queen, playfully engaging with the news media and distributing treats to enthusiastic supporters.

Although support for ethanol has been historically significant in Iowa’s caucus campaigns, recent history has shown that a lack of backing for ethanol may not necessarily hinder a candidate’s chances. In 2016, Senator Ted Cruz, who opposed the ethanol mandate, won the Republican caucuses in Iowa, despite Trump’s loss in that primary contest.

Trump’s event in Iowa also marked the launch of his Farmers for Trump Coalition, co-chaired by officials including Representatives Mike Sexton and Derek Wulf, who hold prominent positions on the House Agriculture Committee.

This campaign event in Iowa was Trump’s first major gathering since March, when he addressed a large audience in Davenport. Notably, he had planned an outdoor event in Des Moines in May, but it was canceled due to a tornado warning.

As the Republican presidential field intensifies its focus on Iowa, various candidates, including DeSantis, former Vice President Mike Pence, former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, and Senator Tim Scott, have participated in campaign events and fundraisers in the state. Trump expressed confidence that he would emerge victorious in the Iowa caucuses and encouraged his supporters to get involved in the political process.

Although Trump’s mention of Nebraska elicited enthusiastic applause from the crowd, it’s important to note that Nebraskans are not eligible to participate in the Iowa caucuses.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about ethanol

Q: What was the purpose of Trump’s campaign event in Iowa?

A: The purpose of Trump’s campaign event in Iowa was to promote his administration’s agricultural record, highlight his support for Iowa’s ethanol industry, and criticize his Republican presidential rival, Ron DeSantis, for opposing ethanol. He aimed to appeal to farmers and emphasize his pro-farmer stance.

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