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“Not up for the job,” Trump blasts Haley and DeSantis at pre-caucus event in Indianola

Zach Spindler-Krage
Former President Donald J. Trump speaks at a rally in Indianola, Iowa on Jan 14. After winning the Iowa caucuses, Trump hinted at the possibility of Ramaswamy joining his ticket as vice-president.

Former President Donald J. Trump rallied with Iowans at Simpson College on the eve of the Iowa caucuses with a message of confidence for his supporters. 

“We’re leading in the polls by a lot. Not just this [caucus] poll, we’re leading nationally,” Trump said.

Trump, in a building packed with his supporters, gave a near two hour speech featuring interruptions from climate protestors and the announcement of an endorsement from Doug Burgum, governor of North Dakota 

Amidst a wind chill warning, over a thousand Iowans braved the cold to hear Trump’s remarks. After filling up the main room, event organizers filled two additional overflow rooms where attendees watched Trump speak remotely from a YouTube livestream. After the two additional rooms filled up, the event stopped accepting attendees.

Trump took stage shortly after noon, following opening remarks from Ohio Representative Jim Jordan, former Attorney General Matt Whitaker and a pre taped message from Trump’s daughter-in-law, Lara Trump. He asserted policies and ideas that have been mainstays of the Trump campaign since 2016, including his desire to totally shut the Southern Border and deport immigrants currently residing in the US — a focus on America First policies — and his staunch support for the use of fossil fuels.

“Drill, baby, drill,” said Trump, reiterating a catchphrase he has used to advocate for increased domestic fossil fuel manufacturing. 

This issue had become a greater focus of the rally when earlier, less than 20 minutes into Trump’s speech, 3 attendees stood up and unfurled a banner that read “TRUMP: CLIMATE CRIMINAL” before event security removed them. This same group of protestors used a similar tactic at a Ron DeSantis event earlier this week

Trump responded to the protestors by doubling down on the importance of American fossil fuel production before stating, “We’re really the party of common sense … Yes, conservative. We did a lot of conservative things, but we’re really the party of common sense”

Trump also discussed his competition from both the other Republican hopefuls and incumbent candidate Joe Biden. He mentioned fellow Republican candidates Nikki Haley and Ron DeSantis by name multiple times, alleging that they are not “up to the job” nor have the necessary public support.

“MAGA represents 95% of the Republican Party, and it’s an amazing thing,” Trump said.

He then went on to say that under Biden, “America right now is not a great country.” He discredited the 2020 election as a scam, continuing his existing rhetoric that collusion on the electoral level unfairly lost him the presidency. 

Towards the end of his speech, Trump began to bring guests to the podium to join him. First, and most notably, was Burgum, who announced his endorsement for Trump for the first time following his withdrawal from the presidential race. Additional guests included Brad Zaun, Iowa State Senator and early Trump endorsement, and former U.S. representative from Mississippi, Billy Long. 

Ahead of the caucuses, which will occur tomorrow night across the state of Iowa, the most recent Des Moines Register poll shows Trump as having a commanding 28 point lead over his second place opponent Nikki Haley. 

Trump speaks to his base, saying, “We want to have borders. We want to have elections. We want low taxes and a strong military.” (Zach Spindler-Krage)
Attendees faced wind chills of down to minus 35 degrees Fahrenheit to attend this rally. This weather, unprecedented in the caucuses, is causing travel difficulties for both candidates and voters. (Zach Spindler-Krage)
During Trump’s speech, protestors hold up a sign that reads, “TRUMP: CLIMATE CRIMINAL.” Three protestors stood up individually during the beginning of Trump’s speech with a similar message. (Zach Spindler-Krage)
After protesting Trump’s support of fossil fuels, attendees were immediately removed by security, as was the case when the group demonstrated similarly at a DeSantis rally. (Zach Spindler-Krage)
Protestor holds up sign, now outside after being taken out of the event venue. The event took place at the Simpson College campus. (Nick El Hajj)
Attendees who arrived after the main room was at capacity were sent to one of two overflow rooms, where a broadcast of the event by the Right Side Broadcasting Network played from a YouTube livestream. Trump mentioned the capacity of the event and the two overflow rooms as a sign of good turnout. (Nick El Hajj)
North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum takes the stage with his wife to officially announce his endorsement for Trump in the 2024 presidential race. Burgum, formerly a Republican presidential candidate, recently dropped out of the race. (Zach Spindler-Krage)
Ohio State Representative Jim Jordan poses for a photo with an attendee. Jordan is a prominent endorser of Trump who attended the event to show support among other prominent figures like former Representative Billy Long, Mayor of Knox County, Tennessee Glenn “Kane” Jacobs and far-right activist Laura Loomer. (Zach Spindler-Krage)
Attendees stand in front of the media section, waiting in anticipation for Trump to take the stage. Trump addressed the reporters in the back of the room numerous times during his speech, referring to the media as “fake news.” (Zach Spindler-Krage)
Trump pumps his fist as he prepares to leave the stage. According to the most recent Des Moines Register/NBC News/Mediacom Iowa Poll, 48% of likely Republican caucus goers pick Trump as their first choice for president. (Zach Spindler-Krage)
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About the Contributors
Eleanor Corbin
Eleanor Corbin, Editor in Chief
Eleanor is a fourth-year political science major with a concentration in statistics. Nine out of ten times she is ready and willing to discuss embroidery, types of loose-leaf tea, and metal music. Best approached with her favorite candy, cherry Twizzler bites, in hand.
Zach Spindler-Krage
Zach Spindler-Krage, News Editor
Zach Spindler-Krage is a third-year political science major and policy studies concentrator. He is from Rochester, Minnesota and has an unbelievable amount of state pride. Zach spends his time hiking, playing and listening to music, trying to submit op-eds for every class writing assignment, and wishing he was in Minnesota.
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