The former president said he was ready to go, but had to wait on standby near the Palm Beach, Florida, airport before taking off for the Hawkeye State. Trump, who was set to appear in Des Moines, ultimately had to forego the trip after several counties across the state issued a tornado warning. Trump’s cancellation came as potential 2024 Republican opponent Governor Ron DeSantis, who is expected to announce his campaign launch any day, drew a significant crowd in Sioux Center, Iowa.
“Unfortunately, due to the Tornado Warnings in Des Moines, we are forced to cancel today’s outdoor Rally at the Lauridsen Amphitheater,” Trump said. “Stay tuned, we will reschedule soon. Be safe out there!”
The cancellation spoils an anticipated faceoff in the crucial GOP primary state between the two Republican leaders. Trump, who consistently leads Republican primary polls by double digits, and DeSantis, who is the former president’s largest threat from within the GOP, are expected to engage in a long and dramatic GOP primary battle.
DeSantis gave the keynote address at the Feenstra Family Picnic in Sioux Center, telling the crowd of over 500 that Republicans “must reject the culture of losing that’s affected our party in recent years” and “the time for excuses is over.”
“If we make the 2024 election a referendum on Joe Biden and his failures, and if we provide a positive alternative for the future of this country, Republicans will win across the board,” the Florida governor added.
— Leonardo Feldman (@LeoFeldmanNEWS) May 13, 2023
DeSantis will also appear at a Republican state party fundraiser in Cedar Falls, Iowa, Saturday night. The event sold out, which marked only the second time in five years that such a regional event had sold out, according to Iowa GOP party chair Jeff Kaufmann, NBC News reported.
As for Trump, the Iowa rally would have been the first after he further solidified his position as the Republican frontrunner during a CNN town hall in New Hampshire earlier this week. The town hall was held a day after a jury in New York said he sexually abused and defamed author E. Jean Carrol. During the event, the former president sparred with reporter Kaitlan Collins and drew applause and laughter from the Republican audience when he addressed his recent civil trial.
The former president is also in the midst of a legal battle with Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg who charged Trump with 34 felony counts stemming from his alleged hush money payments to adult film actress Stormy Daniels during the 2016 election.