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Trump Addresses Thousands Of Supporters In Des Moines

Trump at DSM Oct 14, 20
Charlie Neibergall
President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally at Des Moines International Airport on Wednesday.

President Donald Trump visited Des Moines Wednesday night for a rally as polls show him in a tight race in the state with former Vice President Joe Biden, and the newest White House Coronavirus Task Force Report once again placed Iowa in the red zone for new coronavirus cases.

Trump spoke to several thousand of cheering supporters at an outdoor rally at the Des Moines airport.

“Should I take off the tie or not? Maybe? Yes?,” he asked, playing to the crowd.

Recent polls have shown the president in a dead heat with Joe Biden here after winning the state by almost 10 points four years ago.

“And get the hell out to vote because if I don’t get Iowa, I won’t believe that one. I may never have to come back here again if I don’t get Iowa. I’ll never be back. You understand that, Kim,” he said, turning to Gov. Kim Reynolds.

Trump also told the crowd Iowa will always come first in the rotation – referencing the Iowa caucuses and the 2024 G-O-P presidential nominating process.

He focused a lot on fiscal issues, including the trade tariffs he imposed on China, and the subsidies the federal government has provided to farmers to make up for the economic hit.

“Some of the farmers were making more money the way I was doing it than working their asses off, alright? They were very, very happy,” he said.

Other Republican politicians spoke, including former Gov. Terry Branstad, who recently came back to the state after leaving his post as U.S. Ambassador of China. His successor, Gov. Kim Reynolds, also spoke.

"The energy is on our side!" Reynolds said while warming up the crowd. "Don’t believe the polls, don’t believe what the media is telling you. Up and down the ticket people are fired up for Republican victories on November 3!"

Former 3rd District Congressman David Young, who is running for his old seat, also spoke.

Clay Masters
A billboard paid for by the political group Rural America 2020 outside the Des Moines Airport, pointing to where President Trump held his outdoor rally on Wednesday.

The president’s trip came as hospitalizations, virus spread and deaths related to COVID-19 continue at high levels in Iowa. COVID-19 hospitalizations reached another record high for the state, 482, as of Wednesday evening. Dr. Megan Srinivas, an infectious disease doctor from Fort Dodge, spoke at a Biden for President Campaign press conference on the steps of the Statehouse earlier Wednesday.

"We’re talking about a potential super-spreading event that could really drastically increase the already rising trajectory of both cases, hospitalizations and deaths in our state,” said Dr. Srinivas, chair of the Biden COVID council for Iowa.

Clay Masters is Iowa Public Radio’s Morning Edition host and lead political reporter.