Trump supporters on 2024, policy concerns

Republicans from around Iowa and out of state share why they came to Des Moines to see the 45th President.


Cecilia Shearon

An attendee poses with three corn dogs prior to Donald Trump’s “Save America” rally in Des Moines, Iowa on Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021. Two venders were in charge of feeding the thousands of attendees that showed up for Trump’s rally.

Natalie Dunlap, Politics Editor

Thousands of people from Iowa and surrounding states came to the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines to see former President Donald Trump speak on Saturday.

Karla Wright, 54, came to Iowa from Princeton, Minnesota to hear Trump speak with her sister and nephew. She said she was interested in hearing Trump’s thoughts on the economy under President Joe Biden, and Biden’s vaccine mandates for federal workers, federal contractors, and health care workers.

Wright’s husband is an airline pilot. Most airlines are mandating the COVID-19 vaccine for their employees.

“He can’t risk losing his job, and he’s not against vaccines necessarily but he’s against the mandate,” Wright said. “So I don’t know if things could move quickly where the Supreme Court would handle the mandate and if it’s constitutional or not, that would be helpful, but everything’s a process.”

Although Trump’s speech was often divisive and threatened the downfall of the U.S., Wright said she hoped the speech would be unifying and help bring people together.

“I just hope different rallies like this can start to unify the nation on important matters and that it’s not so Republican against Democrat,” she said. “We can just go back to working to make America what it was founded on or what we would like to see it, not going off into these other far ideologies and that is trying to move forward as Americans together.”

Tony Cansler, a 60-year-old from Keota, Iowa, voted for Trump in 2016 and 2020. In 2016, Cansler attended two of Trump’s rallies. Cansler said he enjoyed Trump’s message and wanted to hear it again.

“I like that he puts people first and not politicians first. Trump wants people to be able to live their life, that’s what I like about him,” he said. “When people complain about Trump not being presidential, how many presidential presidents have we had a look at where we’re at now?”

Chrystal Becklar, a 57-year-old from Crawfordsville, Iowa, said she wanted to hear Trump announce he would run for president again.

RELATED: In Des Moines rally, Trump pushes election misinformation

Becklar said she had been to two Trump rallies in Cedar Rapids before, and that Saturday’s crowd was much larger than the previous ones.

“I would say there is positive energy and that people are filled with hope,” Becklar said. “And we’re not stopping until Trump’s back into his rightful presidency.”

Trump did not announce a formal bid for the presidency in 2024, but he said the Make America Great Again movement is strong, and continued to claim falsely that he won the 2020 election.

“We will win again like we have never won before,” he said.

Trump told attendants that the unspecified “we” will finish the southern border wall, reign in big tech monopolies, protect Judeo-Christian values, and ban critical race theory.

Other potential 2024 Republican candidates have made stops in Iowa in recent months.

In July, former Vice President Mike Pence spoke in Des Moines at the FAMiLY Leadership Summit. Pence will also be speaking at the Iowa Memorial Union on the University of Iowa campus in November. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, headlined Rep. Ashley Hinson’s reelection announcement event, and Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Arkansas, headlined Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks’ reelection launch.

Loretta Hoxie, 57, attended with her daughter Jacklyn Huff, 37, and her sister Missy Hougus, 51. The Iowans said abortion, immigration and government spending were major policy concerns for them.

They came out to show support to the former president, with the hope that he runs again in 2024. They said other candidates they could support are Cruz, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, and Candace Owens, a conservative political commentator.

Wright said she would be open to hearing what other candidates could bring to the race, but that she wouldn’t support a candidate who wanted to give more power to the government.