DES MOINES — Speaking Tuesday night to the Republican National Convention, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds praised President Donald Trump for his administration’s efforts in assisting Iowa after the Aug. 10 derecho that caused billions of dollars’ worth of damage across the state.
In a pre-recorded message, Reynolds said Iowans helped each other after what she said was the worst storm in the state’s history, then praised Trump.
“Someone else also had our back: our president,” Reynolds said, according to her prepared remarks. “When the winds had finished raging and the cleanup had only begun, he showed up. You might not know, because the national media didn’t report it. But the Trump administration was here. In full force.”
Trump’s visit was covered by several national media outlets, including the Washington Post, the New York Times and USA Today.
“The day after the storm, the president called to assure me that we had the full backing of the federal government,” Reynolds said. “Later that week, Vice President (Mike) Pence came to Iowa to again assure us that the president and his administration were behind us. With the help of the Trump administration, we quickly received a major disaster declaration that will help Iowans get back on their feet. The president cut through the bureaucracy to do what needed to be done, and to do it quickly.”
Pence was in Iowa to launch a “Farmers & Ranchers for Trump” coalition at the Iowa State Fairgrounds. He pledged federal support for the state as it recovers, but offered no specifics, and did not tour areas with storm damage.
Trump’s declaration covered only a portion of the governor’s request. It did not include individual assistance for people in 27 counties whose homes were destroyed or had major damage, nor did it cover damage to farms, grain bins and ag buildings. On Aug. 20, he approved individual assistance for Linn County, among the hardest-hit areas, but Reynolds’ office said other requests remained under review.
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Reynolds recorded her convention address Monday in Des Moines. The convention is being held in Charlotte, N.C. But, like its Democratic predecessor the previous week, very little action is taking place on-site amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking on the second night of the four-day convention, Reynolds also praised Trump for his response after severe flooding in western Iowa in 2019, providing relief to farmers who have struggled as a result of trade disputes — to which the administration has contributed — and for federal relief for workers and businesses impacted by the pandemic.
“Because of President Trump and his leadership, our country is able to show resolve through adversity, and see opportunity grow and thrive,” Reynolds said, according to her prepared remarks. “This is an administration of action and outcomes. They are delivering every day on their promise to make America great again. And that’s exactly why we need to re-elect President Trump in November.”
Earlier Tuesday, the Iowa Democratic Party held a news conference call in advance of Reynolds’ speech. State party chairman Mark Smith and state treasurer Mike Fitzgerald criticized Reynolds and Trump for their respective work managing the pandemic.
Smith alleged Reynolds and Trump failed to contain the virus, follow the advice of federal health experts and offer “critical resources.”
“No matter what the governor said (Tuesday night), she cannot paper over her failed COVID response,” Smith said.
Iowa Republican U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst is scheduled to address the convention Thursday.
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