Trump woos Iowans, focuses on central campaign themes
'He's talking about things we understand'
Gazette-Lee Des Moines Bureau
CLIVE — Donald Trump reinforced many of his staple campaign issues during a rally Tuesday at an events center in this western Des Moines suburb.
There was not much new in Trump’s 30 minutes of remarks during the Republican presidential candidate’s fourth, general election campaign trip to Iowa.
Instead, Trump addressed roughly 1,600 people, according to the local fire marshal, by hitting all his familiar campaign highlights.
He criticized Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton for her use of a private email server while serving as Secretary of State and questioned the role of the Clinton Foundation during the same period; restated his desire to have strong immigration laws and enforcement; noted the next president’s role in selecting at least one and possibly multiple U.S. Supreme Court justices; and said he will renegotiate international trade deals that he believes are bad for the U.S. economy.
Jon Bintner, a 72-year-old retired principal from Exira, said he has heard much of what Trump said Tuesday, but that it was good to hear it again.
“I think Mr. Trump. He comes across as being honest and sincere. He doesn’t give maybe enough details at times, but he’s talking about things we understand,” Bintner said.
Of course, not everyone — even in first-in-the-nation Iowa — has heard Trump speak in person. Richard and Rhonda Landrum traveled more than two hours from Shell Rock for Tuesday’s rally to hear Trump speak for the first time.
“I hope he wins,” Rhonda Landrum said. “I thought it was excellent. He said all the right things. Hopefully he follows through on them.”
Bintner said he supports Trump because he feels the country is headed in the wrong direction, and he believes Trump can provide “hope in a dismal world.”
Former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, who introduced Trump at Tuesday’s event, said 70 percent of Americans feel the same as Bintner.
According to Gallup’s most recent polling, 72 percent of Americans are dissatisfied with the way things are going in the country.
“We see everything stagnant. Kids can’t get jobs, farmers’ prices keep going down, everything seems to be government-based,” Bintner said.
Trump also made a few pitches to Iowa voters, essentially the same he made at U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst’s annual “Roast and Ride” fundraiser this past month in Des Moines. He called family farms “the backbone of this country” and said he would reduce regulations — particularly within the federal Environmental Protection Agency — and maintain a strong federal ethanol mandate, a program popular in Iowa’s agricultural industry.
“We’re going to grow family farming in America. We’re going to grow the farms,” Trump said.
Trump, Giuliani and Tana Goertz, the Iowa native and Trump campaign official, all made reference to Clinton’s recent remarks at a fundraiser, in which she said half of Trump’s supporters belong in “a basket of deplorables,” accusing them of being racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic and Islamaphobic.
“You’re a good-looking basket of deplorables,” Goertz joked to the crowd.
The Clinton campaign presented millennial supporters at a press event earlier Tuesday at a labor hall near the Trump rally.
Monica Reyes, a 25-year-old undocumented Iowa resident who co-founded an organization that advocates on behalf of undocumented citizens, criticized Trump over his now infamous comments about Mexican immigrants.
Reyes said she encounters racism from Trump supporters while door-knocking for Clinton.
“Trump has a dark and cynical view of undocumented immigrants like myself,” Reyes said. “All we ask for is protection, dignity and respect. All of this falls on deaf ears to Donald Trump.”
In an August poll by USA Today, millennial likely voters overwhelmingly supported Clinton over Trump, 56 percent to 20 percent.
“This election, millennials of all backgrounds are united when we say Donald Trump, you do not represent who we are or what we stand for,” said Austin Wadle, a 20-year-old Grinnell College student and president of the College and Young Democrats of Iowa. “We reject your dangerous policies, we reject your hateful campaign, and most especially we reject you and will elect Hillary Clinton the next president of the United States.”