DES MOINES, Iowa – Several thousand people came to see President Donald Trump on Wednesday as he made a campaign stop at the Des Moines International Airport with Election Day just 20 days away.
Democrats criticized the rally, calling it “a COVID super spreader.” Signs at the rally encouraged attendees to wear masks, and the campaign provided masks and hand sanitizer to those who wanted them.
Some wore masks, and a lot of people didn’t.
The crowd waited hours for the president to arrive, but an hour-and-a-half before he was scheduled to arrive, several speakers came to the stage.
Iowa GOP Chair Jeff Kaufmann fired up the crowd with digs at the mainstream media, particularly CNN and the Des Moines Register.
Former U.S. Rep. David Young, who is challenging U.S. Cindy Axne, D-Iowa, in a rematch in Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District, took the stage next.
He called the gathering the “nicest peaceful protest” he has ever attended.
“You know, I feel really at home here because, of course, it is our home, but amongst fellow minded folks, it’s like an intervention, right? It’s like we’re all in this 12 step program together. I’ll go first, I’m David Young, and I’m a capitalist,” Young said.
“And you know what that means? It just means freedom, right? It’s freedom. It’s the sovereignty of the individual. It’s the entrepreneurial spirit. It’s where our rights come from God and not government. And if you fail, it shouldn’t be at the hands of government. And if you do fail, you know that you’d have a family member, friends, supporters, even strangers, helping you up and getting the job done,” he added. “It’s about equal opportunity and equality under the law.”
Young contrasted that with the direction the left wanted to take America.
“You see, the other side says, We’re the government. We’re here to help. We’ll give you what you need. We’ll take away things. They believe that they can provide rights for you, but they can take them away. They believe in groupthink, equal outcomes, identity politics – politics which creates tribalism – and what do tribes do? They fight, and we don’t need to be fighting,” he said.
Young also addressed Axne’s criticism of the rally held in Des Moines during their last debate saying she couldn’t believe the event was happening in her district.
“She called it her district. It’s not her district. It’s your district. It’s our district. It’s the people’s district,” he said, also pointing out that Axne said she would do “everything in her power to stop the event” and that she was unsuccessful.
“But you see, that’s the contrast people, you know, this. We like freedom. We want to manage our risk in a responsible manner. We want to move about freely. Leftists and liberals, they just want to control us. They want to control you. They don’t trust you to do the right thing. Not with your money, not with your rights,” Young added.
Terry Branstad, former Ambassador to China and former Governor of Iowa, spoke next, and he praised Trump’s efforts in China.
“And I’m proud to say because President Trump had the guts to make Iowa and America a priority. We have, for the first time, got a Phase One trade agreement that gives us fairness and reciprocity and has helped us set records in selling corn, soybeans, pork, beef, and chicken in China,” he said.
Branstad also touted some of the other administration diplomatic accomplishments with China.
“The President also convinced President Xi of China to make all of fentanyl a controlled substance to save thousands of lives in this country,” he said. “I’m proud that we were able to stand up to the Chinese for their unfair treatment of the Uyghurs. And for what they did in Hong Kong, we are insisting on fairness and reciprocity in this relationship.”
Branstad then rebuked China’s handling of COVID-19.
“And I want you to know how tragic it was that the Chinese Communist covered up the terrible the terrible virus that started in Wuhan, China, and they let it travel throughout the world. President Trump was the first leader in the world that stop people from China coming to the United States, way before anybody else had the courage to take that kind of action. He took the abuse and criticism from Biden and from the Democrats, but he did the right thing,” he said.
Branstad then praised U.S. Senator Joni Ernst, Young, and introduced Gov. Kim Reynolds, who succeeded him after his appointment to become U.S. Ambassador to China.
Reynolds said that Republicans are energized.
“Energy is on our side. Don’t believe the polls, don’t believe what the media is telling you. Up and down the tape ticket, people are fired up for Republican victories on November 3,” she said.
Reynolds addressed her handling of the COVID-19 crisis.
“I am proud to be a governor that puts her trust in our people, because they are responsible. They are resilient, and they will do the right thing. And that is why we were able to keep over 80% of our workforce working, and businesses open. It is why we’re getting our kids safely and responsibly. Back in school, 75% of our school districts are teaching children in the building,” she said.
“It is because of Republican leadership in the legislature and Republican-led governor, the decisions that we’ve made, the diversity of our economy and keeping it open is why we closed Fiscal Year 20 – balanced budget cash reserves full, and a $305 million surplus. We’re ready to come into this economy stronger and better than ever,” Reynolds added.
Reynolds also encouraged people to vote to re-elect Trump and Ernst and send Young back to Congress. She also pointed out the importance of this election.
“This is what election we can’t get wrong, elections matter. And all you have to do is turn on the TV and see the chaos and the intimidation and the dysfunction and the lawlessness that is taking place across this country. And I will tell you most of those states are run by Democratic governors. It’s unconscionable. And it is they are showing us what a big government socialist liberal agenda looks like. It’s not safe. It’s not pretty. And it’s not sustainable. They want to open the borders, they want to raise your taxes, they want to pack the court, they want to do away with Electoral College, the list goes on and on and on. And they’re laying it out there,” she warned.
After a short delay due to flying into headwinds, Air Force One descended into view, landed, and taxied behind the rally location. Trump spoke for 90 minutes in a winding speech where he frequently went off-script.
“I’m thrilled to be back in the American heartland with thousands of loyal, hard-working Iowa patriots. And 20 days from now we’re going to win this state we’re going to win four more,” he said after thanking the crowd for their welcome.
The president then pointed to a New York Post article that said it had exclusive emails showing that Hunter Biden introduced his father, Vice President Joe Biden, to a Ukrainian businessman, a year before the Vice President pressured Ukraine into firing a prosecutor.
Facebook and Twitter subsequently censored the article, which had the opposite effect of drawing more attention to the story.
“Joe Biden has been blatantly lying about his involvement in his son’s corrupt business daily. This is a big smoking gun,” Trump insisted.
“These emails show that Biden’s repeated claim that he has never spoken to Hunter about his business dealings were a complete lie, was a total lie. He lied to you over and over, because he’s trying to cover up a massive pay for play scandal,” he added.
“Just weeks ago, Joe said before the American people in a presidential debate and told you that these claims had been totally discredited and that his son did nothing wrong. But now that turns out to be a total lie. Now we can see clearly that Biden is a corrupt politician,” Trump said.
He also pointed out that there have been “false and libelous” stories published about him but were never censored by Facebook and Twitter.
“They were never taken down by Twitter or Facebook, or the mainstream media, never once. Yet with Biden today, they take negative posts down almost before they even go up. They’re trying to protect him,” Trump said.
He called for Biden to be transparent about his family’s business dealings.
“Joe Biden must immediately release all emails, meetings, phone calls, transcripts, and records related to his involvement in his family’s business dealings, influence patterns around the world, including China and including Russia,” Trump demanded.
Trump shifted gears and talked about bringing U.S. troops home from overseas.
“While (establishment politicians) spent trillions of dollars on never-ending foreign wars. They just never ended. But you know, we’re bringing all our soldiers back home, you know that we’ve been doing it for a long time. And it’s not easy, not easy. We’re almost finished in Afghanistan coming in. We’re down to a small number coming home by the end of the year, hopefully, the end of the year, shortly thereafter. In Syria, we’re out, totally out. And by the way, we crushed, before I did this, we crushed 100 percent of the ISIS Caliphate,” he said.
Trump pointed out boosts the Phase One deal with China had on Iowa agriculture.
“You know, two weeks ago, you had the largest order of corn in the history of our country, right? Two weeks ago, you had the largest order of soybeans in the history of our country and the largest order of beef. But you know why? Because China wants to keep me happy, that’s why. It was from China. Because they know what they’ve done to us should never have been allowed,” he stated.
Trump focused on ethanol. He said the left was killing ethanol.
“The Biden-Harris platform will demolish Iowa ethanol, you know that, wiping out the entire industry. And we fought hard for it,” he said.
Trump pointed out that under his administration, E-15 was expanded to be sold year-round.
Trump hit Biden on his refusal to answer questions about court-packing and for his promise to eliminate fracking.
He said he saved the suburbs, discussing how polls show him lagging with suburban women. “You know what I find suburban women, period; they want security. They don’t want their home values going down. They don’t want a low-income housing project built in the middle of suburbia, next to their house,” Trump said, referring to a regulation implemented under the Obama administration that increased low-income housing in the suburbs.
Critics have called his opposition to this regulation racist.
“And remember this, 29 to 30 percent of the people living in suburbia are minorities. So this has nothing to do with discrimination. It has nothing to do with anything. What it has to do is with the American dream,” Trump said.
He also acknowledged the elected officials in the audience. He also invited former Iowa Hawkeye wrestling coach and Olympic champion Dan Gable on stage to announce that he was awarding Gable the presidential medal of freedom.
Trump pointed to economic accomplishments before the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
“In my first three years, family income increased by $6,000. That’s more than five times the gains in all eight years under the last administration. African American income grew nine times more than it did under Biden and Obama. We lifted 6.6 million Americans out of poverty, so proud that African American unemployment, Hispanic American unemployment, and Asian American unemployment all reached the lowest levels in history,” he stated.
“At the end of the last administration, the Congressional Budget Office projected fewer than 2 million jobs would be created over the next three years. And we crushed that prediction and created almost 8 million jobs, nobody can believe. We’re doing it again. My policies have benefited those who needed it the most. The bottom 50% of households saw an astonishing 40% increase in net worth,” Trump added.
He noted blue-collar workers saw the most significant benefit from the 2017 tax cuts. Following most lock-downs being lifted, Trump said the unemployment rate was cut in half.
Trump also pledged to eliminate the estate tax, a burden for farming families who want to pass on the family farm to younger generations.
He also highlighted his foreign policy achievements – pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal, moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, and fostering peace deals between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.
Trump also said Biden would ban school choice and charter schools. “Civil rights all starts with education, and we need school choice. And in a second term, I will provide school choice to every parent in America.”
As his speech came to a close, he mentioned red meat issue items for Republicans. Trump promised to increase penalties for those who assault police officers. He said he would stand for religious liberty and free speech. Trump vowed to protect Second Amendment rights. He said he would defend the United States from terrorists and maintain U.S. military might, but also keep the nation out of “ridiculous, horrible, endless foreign wars.”
He promised that America would be the first nation to land a woman on the moon and astronauts on Mars.
“From Cambridge to Council Bluffs, from Cedar Rapids to Rock Rapids, from Davenport to right here in Des Moines; we stand on the shoulders of Iowa patriots who gave their blood, sweat, and tears for this beloved nation. We inherit the legacy of American heroes,” Trump said before pledging to support Iowa’s First in the Nation status.
“We made America into the single greatest nation in the history of the world, and the best is yet to come. Proud citizens like you helped build this country. And together we are taking back our country. We are returning power to you, the American people. With your health, your devotion, and your drive, we are going to keep on working. We are going to keep on fighting. And we are going to keep on winning, winning winning. Because we are one movement. We are one people in one family. We are one glorious nation under God. And together with the incredible people of Iowa. We have made America wealthy again. We have made America strong again. We have made America proud again. We will make America safe again, and we will make America great again. Thank you, Iowa,” he said as he closed.