DES MOINES, IOWA — Ron DeSantis spoke to a sold-out crowd Friday night at the Iowa GOP’s annual Lincoln Dinner. DeSantis is working overtime to show supporters in the early-voting state that he can turn his campaign around following a restructuring last week.
Appearing at the event with Donald Trump and eleven other Republican candidates, DeSantis received a warm welcome from the crowd, a portion of which gave a standing ovation as he left the stage. But he steered clear of directly throwing jabs at the former president.
“WE MUST GET THE JOB DONE”
DeSantis touted his record in Florida, his plan to “rip the politics out” of the military and stop the “weaponization” of the federal government. But he bit his tongue when it came to Trump, calling for change without addressing what he’s previously said were failures in the Trump administration.
“I’m running for president because we as Republicans cannot be content with simply managing the decline of our country a little better than the Democrats,” DeSantis exclaimed.
“This is our chance in 2024 to send the Biden-Harris administration to the dustbin where it belongs,” DeSantis told Iowa Republicans. “The time for excuses is over. We must get the job done.”
As DeSantis emerges from a campaign reboot in a new “insurgent” posture, the governor is focusing more on national issues that affect all Americans, such as the economy.
Curbing inflation, repealing “Bidenomics" and stopping Congress from “borrowing and spending” the country into oblivion is what DeSantis says will make a difference for the average American – allowing them a chance to get ahead.
The governor unveiled his “Declaration of Economic Independence” plan today, promising to reverse what he called disastrous policies put in place by bureaucrats in Washington, D.C.
TRUMP PUNCHES BACK: “THERE’S ONLY ONE CANDIDATE”
Donald Trump – who read from prepared remarks – made jokes about having “to go quickly” as he rattled off accomplishments from his previous term in office.
“Iowa has never had a better friend in the White House,” Trump said as he began his speech.
Trump made a point to tell attendees that he “wouldn’t take a chance on that one,” referring to Ron DeSantis. He also called attention to his administration’s tariffs on China which directed money to U.S. farmers and his support of E-15 and ethanol fuel.
“We did a lot of things, it’s hard to do that quickly,” Trump said.
The former president brushed off his pending court cases and continued to argue that the 2020 presidential election was rigged. He also cited numerous polls that showed him in a significant lead in early-voting states.
“There’s only one candidate, and you know who that candidate is,” Trump said. “He’s going to get the job done.”
HURD ATTACKS TRUMP
Former U.S. House Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas), who calls himself a modern Republican, was the only candidate to directly attack Trump by name, drawing an outburst of boos from the audience.
“Donald Trump is not running for president to make America great again,” Hurd told Iowa Republicans. “Donald Trump is not running for president to represent the people that voted for him in 2016 and 2020. Donald Trump is running to stay out of prison.”
Hurd said “the truth is hard,” but if Donald Trump is selected as the nominee for the Republican Party, the GOP would be “willingly giving” President Joe Biden another term.