WEST DES MOINES — President Trump spoke at an Iowa GOP dinner on June 11, two days after the largest gathering of Democratic presidential candidates so far this election cycle.
To a crowd of around 700 Iowa Republicans in the Ron Pearson Center, Trump opened his speech touting his administration’s approval of year-round ethanol and reforming a trade deal with Canada and Mexico, known as the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement.
“The USMCA — it’s going to be fantastic,” Trump said. “It’s going to be phenomenal for your state and phenomenal for the farmers and for the manufacturers, and frankly, for the unions.”
This comes after claims Trump made via Twitter, saying Mexico agreed to purchase large amounts of agricultural products from the U.S. Mexican officials said they had no knowledge of a major farm deal, according to several media outlets.
Before traveling to Des Moines, Trump was in Council Bluffs, where he spoke largely about renewable energy and the newly accessible year-round ethanol. E15, or gasoline with 15 percent ethanol, is made with corn and is widely championed in Iowa for its economic benefits.
Trump championed his 2016 victory in Iowa and vowed to “keep Iowa first” ahead of the state’s first-in-the-nation caucuses in February 2020. Trump called the Iowa caucuses a great tradition.
“… and in 2020, Iowa will once again be at the center of the action,” Trump said. “And right here in the Heartland State, in backyards, and living rooms, and town halls, and fairgrounds, and diners, and coffee shops all across the state — you will be the ones to shape America’s future.”
Trump called the June 9 Hall of Fame Celebration in Cedar Rapids a “clown show” and called policies put forward by Democratic presidential candidates, pointing to the Green New Deal, extreme and destructive.
“Despite our amazing success, the Democratic Party has never been angrier,” Trump said. “Every day, the Democratic Party is becoming more and more unhinged.”
In terms of success, Trump pointed to the job market and said that since the election, there has been 6 million new jobs and 7 million Americans lifted off food stamps. He said unemployment is at a 50-year low.
The number of individuals receiving SNAP benefits from 2016 to 2018 has only slightly decreased.
Iowa Rep. Bobby Kaufmann, R-Wilton, commended Trump in a speech at the beginning of the event. Kaufmann said that as the only elected Republican in mostly-blue Johnson County, he is “living proof” that Republicans can win in traditionally Democratic areas, such as Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District.
Kaufmann also “thanked Trump” for bills and executive orders he signed, such as an executive order to ensure campus free speech after concerns that college campuses are becoming too liberal.
Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a similar bill in Iowa this past legislative session.
“You can’t do good things in state government with federal regulations,” Kaufmann said. “[Trump] puts a wrecking ball through federal regulations.”
Other speakers from Iowa’s Statehouse included Rep. Pat Grassley, R-New Hartford, Rep. Shannon Lundgren, R-Dubuque, and Sen. Marianette Miller-Meeks, R-Ottumwa. The lawmakers called on Republican support to re-elect Ernst in 2020 and to unseat Iowa’s three Democratic House repesentatives.
“The proposals coming from [Democratic candidates] are extreme,” Lundgren said but did not specify the proposals. “It ain’t free, and it will fall on the backs of hard-working American families.”
Trump’s Iowa visit also overlaps with a visit from former Vice President and 2020 Democratic presidential-nomination candidate Joe Biden.