DES MOINES, IOWA – Former President Trump took aim at the massive spending bill that President Biden and congressional Democrats are trying to pass into law, charging it’s a “monstrosity” and “so dangerous for our country.”
Trump’s attacks on the multi-trillion dollar human infrastructure, social spending and climate change package came as he holds a rally in Iowa on Saturday. It’s the former president’s first stop in the competitive central plains state since last year’s election.
Iowa is also the state whose caucuses for the past half century have kicked off the presidential nomination calendar, and Trump’s stop is sparking more speculation he’ll make another White House run in 2024.
Iowa was once a key battleground state, but Trump comfortably won it his 2016 election as president and his 2020 defeat. He arrived in the Hawkeye State days after scoring his best favorable ratings ever in the Des Moines Register poll, which is considered the gold standard in this neck of the woods.
Fifty-three percent of Iowans had a favorable view of the former president and 45% hold an unfavorable view, according to a Des Moines Register/Mediacom survey released on Monday. And among Republicans only, he was at 91% favorability.
Trump touted the poll, saying “we’re at the highest we’ve ever been.”
He also spotlighted his victory in Iowa last November, adding “you proved why Iowa should vote first in the nation.”
The former president took a few jabs at the small group of GOP senators, led by Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, for earlier this week allowing the majority Democrats to temporarily lift the debt ceiling, which prevented the nation from defaulting.
“To think that we had 11 Republicans go along with an extension, headed up by Mitch McConnell,” Trump said, which elicited boos from the large crowd of supporters at the rally site at the Iowa State Fairgrounds.
Trump also repeatedly pilloried his successor in the White House as well as what he called “television generals” for their handling of the rocky U.S. withdrawal and evacuation from Afghanistan. He also criticized Biden over the influx of migrants trying to cross the nation’s southern border with Mexico, and over the surge in COVID cases as the highly infectious delta variant spread across the country.
Trump’s trip to Iowa comes a little over a year before the 2022 midterm elections. Republicans need a net gain of one seat to retake control in the 100-member Senate and a net gain of five seats in the 435-member House to win back the majority in next year’s contests.
The path to a GOP House majority may run through the Hawkeye State, where three of the state’s four representatives are Republicans. Two of them – Reps. Ashley Hinson and Mariannette Miller-Meeks – won their seats by razor thin margins last November and will likely face challenging reelections. And the GOP is targeting the state’s only Democrat in the House, Rep. Cindy Axne, who narrowly won reelection last year.
Throw in high profile reelections for Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds and longtime GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley, and Iowa will spend plenty of time in the campaign spotlight in the year leading up to the 2022 midterms.
Reynolds, Grassley, Hinson and Miller-Meeks all addressed the crowd ahead of Trump. And an hour into his comments, the former president brought Grassley back to the podium, to endorse his 2022 reelection bid.