The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Trump vows to ‘launch a revival of economic nationalism’ at Cedar Rapids rally

Former President Donald Trump visited Cedar Rapids and Waterloo on Saturday exactly 100 days ahead of the 2024 Republican Caucus.
Jordan Barry
Donald Trump points during a rally at the DoubleTree by Hilton in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023.

Former President Donald Trump promised to launch a “revival of economic nationalism” and focused on his America-first trade policies and the success of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement during a rally in Cedar Rapids on Saturday afternoon. 

Trump spoke to a room of over 2,000 people on Saturday at the DoubleTree hotel and Convention Center in Downtown Cedar Rapids — one of the first of many Trump campaign events this month. The room was packed full of supporters clad in Trump flags, shirts of Trump’s recent mugshot, and American flags Saturday afternoon. 

Trump touted his wins in the North American free trade agreement that he said brought domestic growth for American companies and allowed him to bring Mexico to the table on immigration policy reform. 

Trump touted his $28 billion in federal aid to farmers that he signed into law in December 2018 to offset losses farmers experienced while his administration renegotiated international trade agreements and imposed heftier tariffs on China. 

“If I sound a little arrogant — I don’t see them voting against me no matter what I do,” Trump said, referring to his support among midwestern states, on Saturday. 

Trump also vowed to enact a Reciprocal Trade Act if he won the election that would reciprocate tariffs placed on American-made products around the world, and he would impose tariffs across the board to decrease competition for U.S. manufacturers against foreign goods.

Trump touted his efforts to cut regulatory costs or “job-killing regulatory costs”. According to research by the Brookings Institute, Trump’s administration’s annual regulatory costs were only $10 billion, while Obama’s topped $110 billion. 

Trump also criticized President Joe Biden for his weak trade policies and foreign policy. 

“[Biden] puts everyone else first but he puts America last,” Trump said on Saturday. “He puts our workers last, he puts our industries last, he puts our farmers last. He puts your families last, he puts everything that’s good — he puts it last.” 

Before his 4 p.m. rally in Cedar Rapids, Trump spoke at the National Cattle Congress in Waterloo at 1:30 p.m. After the back-to-back rallies on Saturday, his visit to Ottumwa on Oct. 1, and a planned visit to Iowa on Oct. 16, Trump’s campaign has begun to increase its presence in the state. 

His visits come a little more than three months ahead of the Iowa Caucuses. 

Trump: “We’re the closest we’ve ever been to World War III” 

During his speech on Saturday, Trump said under Biden that the U.S. and the international community have been the “closest we’ve ever been to World War III.” 

Trump attributed Biden’s withdrawal from Afghanistan to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the recent attack on Israel by Gaza troops

Trump said the conflicts would not have happened under his watch. Trump mainly attributed Biden’s withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, which Trump began in March 2020 after striking a deal with Taliban leaders. 

Biden finished Trump’s tiered withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan with a rapid withdrawal from the war-torn country. Biden said the quick withdrawal was due to the rapid expansion of militant forces, and the resurgence of the Taliban within the country. 

In August 2021, Biden evacuated more than 120,000 U.S. troops, American citizens, and Afghans from the country as the country fell to turmoil, according to the Associated Press reports. 

Hamas Military forces from the Gaza Strip fired rockets and sent fighters into several Israeli towns near the Gaza Strip on Saturday morning, according to reporting from the Associated Press. 

Israel has since declared war on Hamas military forces and has launched several air strikes on Saturday, an important Jewish holiday. 

Trump recounted his administration’s Israeli-Palestinian relations during his Saturday speech in Cedar Rapids. Trump successfully negotiated the Abraham Accords, which recognized Isreal’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights region, the first country to do so. 


The doors for the event opened at 1 p.m., leaving attendees three hours to get settled before Trump’s appearance. Just after 1 p.m., over 200 people were in line. 

Hunter Anderson, while wearing a “Keep America Great” hat and Trump T-shirt with a red and black striped flag around his back, said he wanted to show his support for Trump at the event. 

“I feel like Trump would … lower all of the wrongs that Biden has done,” Anderson said. “[Trump] has helped the country a lot.”

Anderson said the top issues he wanted Trump to talk about included the border wall and the “endless wars,” something Anderson said Biden hasn’t handled well in office.

“I’m not against Mexicans coming into the country,” Anderson said. “If they want to be free, they can be free, but I just want it to be legal. I want them to come across the border and not damage our country with the drugs that they bring over.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 100,000 Americans died from drugs in 2022, which is one of Anderson’s top concerns. 

Viken Wellman, who traveled to the event from Atkins, Iowa, said he hopes Trump is reelected to bring back honesty into the White House. 

“He’s genuine, and he seems honest, at least to me,” Wellman said. 

No other republican candidate compares to the influence Trump has in the race, Wellman added, which is why Trump has his vote. 

“If you look at other people in the race, they’re not a known figure, at least not to me,” he said. “But other people may disagree, and I understand that.”

Iowa Democratic Party

U.S. Rep. Shontel Brown, D-Ohio, and Iowa State Rep. Jeff Cooling, D-Cedar Rapids, highlighted Trump’s history of hurting American workers. 

“Donald Trump is once again promising workers that he’s on their side,” Brown said during a press call before Trump’s visit Saturday. “But hard-working families in Iowa and across America know he simply can’t be trusted, and that another four years of his agenda would be catastrophic.”

Brown, who is also a Biden for President national advisory board member, called the Biden-Harris administration the “most pro-union and pro-worker” administration in history. She also criticized Trump for his administration’s history. 

She said Trump left his office with 3 million fewer jobs than when he entered. 

Cooling, an electrician and pro-union legislator, also criticized Trump for alleged union-busting and lying to Americans. 

Under Trump, the National Labor Relations Board came under Republican control for the first time since 2007, according to an Associated Press report. Trump’s labor board reversed several pro-union regulations that made it easier for smaller unions to organize and strengthened the rights of franchise workers. 

“As Donald Trump makes his way to Eastern Iowa, he won’t be able to erase his history of lining his pockets of the super wealthy and big corporations at the expense of Iowa’s middle class,” Cooling said. 

During his rally on Saturday, Trump talked about his recent rally with the United Auto Workers union in Michigan the day of the most recent Republican debate on Sept. 27. 

Trump said that while Union leadership had not endorsed him, and likely never would, he went to speak to the workers — who he said were on his side.

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About the Contributors
Liam Halawith
Liam Halawith, Politics Editor
Liam Halawith is a third-year student at the University of Iowa studying Journalism and Mass Communication and minoring in Public Policy. Before his role as Politics Editor Liam was a politics reporter for the DI. Outside of the DI Liam has interned at the Cedar Rapids Gazette and the Southeast Iowa Union. This is his second year working for the DI.
Grace Katzer
Grace Katzer, Politics Reporter
Grace Katzer is a second-year student at the University of Iowa majoring in Journalism and Mass Communications, Political Science, and a writing certificate. Previous to her position as a politics reporter, she has been a higher education news reporter at The Daily Iowan and interned with the Spencer Daily Reporter as a news reporter and Iowa Starting Line as a news media reporter.