In a passionate appeal on Sunday, former President Donald Trump urged his supporters to withstand the bitter cold and cast their votes in the upcoming Iowa caucuses. Trump emphasized that their support would play a pivotal role in bringing about the accountability and retribution he has long vowed to impose upon his return to the White House.
Setting high expectations for his performance in the first significant event of the Republican presidential nomination race, Trump devoted the day preceding the caucuses to galvanize his base. His primary GOP competitors also spent their day in Iowa, courting voters still considering their options.
Addressing a rally in Indianola, Trump rallied his base to counteract his adversaries, insisting that the four indictments against him were politically motivated. He also reiterated his unproven claims regarding the 2020 election results, which he lost to Democrat Joe Biden.
Many attendees at the rally, sporting white and gold caps, were identified as Trump's caucus captains, tasked with mobilizing support for him on caucus night.
Trump's Call for Retaliation
Trump declared to his audience, “These caucuses represent your direct opportunity to triumph over the liars, cheaters, and various unsavory characters that inhabit the Washington swamp.
Tomorrow, you have the power to retaliate and make your voices heard”. Marc Smiarowski, a 44-year-old public utility worker, expressed his steadfast support for Trump, driven partly by defiance. Braving a chilling -18 degrees Fahrenheit (-28 degrees Celsius), he, along with over a hundred others, showed up in heavy Carhartt gear, demonstrating the kind of dedication Trump believed would lead his supporters to endure any hardship for him.
In a bold assertion, Trump suggested that voting for him was a cause worth the ultimate sacrifice. He stressed the importance of voting even in poor health, implying that even if it were their last act, it would be meaningful.
Trump's prediction of a significant victory over his closest rival was coupled with a cautious approach to crossing the 50% vote threshold, a feat never achieved in a contested Republican caucus. Meanwhile, contenders like former U.N.
Ambassador Nikki Haley and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis remained optimistic about their prospects. The latest Des Moines Register/NBC News poll indicated Trump's strong lead, with Haley and DeSantis vying for second place. Despite the harsh weather conditions, Iowa Republican Party Chairman Jeff Kaufmann remained confident about voter turnout.
The severe cold led to some campaign schedule adjustments, including Haley's switch to a virtual town hall after canceling a Dubuque event. In Ames, Haley emphasized the need for new generational leadership within the GOP, focusing on future solutions rather than past grievances.
Trump's support continued to grow, with endorsements from North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, both of whom overlooked other prominent candidates. In the final hours before the caucuses, some voters like Judy Knowler of Peosta remained undecided, reflecting the unique opportunity Iowans have to influence the presidential selection process up close.
After his rally, Trump made a surprise visit to a Casey’s convenience store in Waukee with Burgum, where he enjoyed what he called “the best pizza” and later shared it with first responders at a local firehouse.
As the caucuses approach, the political atmosphere in Iowa remains charged, with candidates making their final pitches and voters weighing their choices in a pivotal moment for the Republican Party.