SIOUX CENTER, Iowa – Former President Donald Trump kicked off a rally in northwest Iowa on Friday sending his “support and deepest condolences” to the families and victims “moved by the horrific school shooting” in Perry.
“To the entire community, we love you, we pray for you, and we ask God to heal and comfort, really, the entire state,” Trump said at the get-out-the-vote rally in Sioux Center.
“We truly are with you as much as anyone can be. What happened is a very terrible thing. “It’s just terrible,” the Republican presidential front-runner said. “That’s just horrible. “It’s very surprising to see it here.”
“But we have to get over it. We have to move forward,” the Republican front-runner said. “To all the family members and all the people who are devastated right now, to the point that they can’t breathe, they can’t live, we are with you every step of the way.”
Seven students and staff were injured and an 11-year-old student died. Thursday when a 17-year-old student opened fire at Perry High School. The school principal was among those injured.
The gunman, a 17-year-old student, died from a self-inflicted gunshot woundthe police said.
Trump spent the rest of his nearly two-hour speech criticizing Democratic President Joe Biden, as well as Republican presidential opponents Nikki Haley and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. He also highlighted trade deals he made with Mexico and China when he was in the White House, measures to curb illegal immigration and support from foreign leaders.
“Ron DeSanctimonious, Nikki Haley and the rest of the group will never do what is necessary to secure the border,” Trump said.
“Nikki Haley has been in the pocket of ‘open borders’ establishment donors her entire career, and now Nikki Haley’s campaign is being funded by Biden donors,” Trump said, referring to a last month’s report indicating that Reid Hoffman, the billionaire co-founder of LinkedIn and a major Democratic donor, recently donated $250,000 to a super PAC supporting Haley.
haley and DeSantiswho have urged strong action to secure the southern border, have been fighting for second place in Iowa. a December Des Moines Record/NBC News/Mediacom Iowa Poll showed that 19% of likely Republican caucusgoers support DeSantis, with Haley at 16%. Trump leads the state with 51%, the poll showed.
“She opposed my border wall,” Trump said of Haley, who was his ambassador to the United Nations. “She condemned my strong border policies. And in 2016, she stabbed the Republican Party in the back by siding with Barack Obama against Trump’s travel ban.
“Nikki Haley would betray you and grant an amnesty to Biden’s illegal aliens in his first week.”
Haley told the Register on Friday He said building a wall on the US-Mexico border was not enough.
“Trump said he would secure the border and he didn’t,” he said.
At a second event Friday night in Mason City, Trump continued his attacks on DeSantis and Haley, repeatedly calling them disloyal.
“They will betray you like they betrayed me,” Trump said of his two opponents.
And he launched broader attacks on prominent Republicans who led the party before his administration, calling on his supporters to help him “rescue the Republican Party from people like Mitt Romney and Karl Rove.”
“There’s no way we’re going to let them back into power, establishment pawns like Ron DeSantis and Nikki Haley,” Trump said. “Or worse, Joe Biden.”
Trump, who faces 91 felony charges, also complained about his legal problems and said the country’s legal system is being “politically weaponized.”
“It’s not democracy,” Trump said. “They want to take away my freedom, because they want to take away your freedom.”
Every time he is accused, he said, “I consider it a great badge of honor. “They are accusing me for you.”
Iowa Sen. Lynn Evans, an Aurelia Republican who helped introduce Trump, said she believes the charges against the former president are political.
“Why do you spend so much time on one candidate? They obviously don’t want them on the ballot,” Evans said. His Democratic opponents “don’t think they can beat him.”
In visits to Sioux Center and Mason City, Trump encouraged his supporters to meet him on January 15.
“They will send a thunderous message directly to corrupt Joe Biden, the fake news media and all the evil and sinister people who are trying to destroy this nation,” said Trump, who did not elaborate on those he considered “evil and sinister.”
Trump, in announcing that he had the support of pastors in all 99 Iowa counties, especially highlighted his support for ethanol, the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucus and $28 billion in assistance to U.S. farmers and of Iowa to offset the losses experienced by producers. in Trump’s protracted trade war with China.
With the second-largest agricultural economy in the United States, Iowa leads the nation in ethanol, pork and egg production. It is the second largest soybean producer in the country.
Trump said Iowa supporters must achieve “a massive victory in Iowa.”
South Dakota residents Susan Rohr and her son, Ethan, drove about 60 miles and arrived six hours early to hear the former president talk about his plans for America.
They were not the first to arrive yet. Some Trump supporters spent Thursday night at the Terrace View Event Center.
“I like his policies,” said Susan Rohr, standing in line with hundreds of other supporters. “I like that he puts America first. I like that you want to secure our border. I like his economic policies, his plan for energy independence. All those things.”
Trump reiterated his support for “drill, drill, drill” for oil and said the American middle class is “being crushed by Biden’s crippling inflation.”
“Violent criminals run wild in Democrat-run cities, while law enforcement has been weaponized against Christians, conservatives and people of faith,” Trump said.
“We have war in Europe, war in the Middle East, China is threatening Taiwan, Iran is inches away from a nuclear bomb, our military has woken up and we are on the brink of World War III,” he said.
Despite their concern and sympathy for the victims of the Perry school shooting, both Susan and Ethan Rohr said they did not want to see stricter gun control measures.
“You need to look at why people pick up guns, go to schools and shoot kids, instead of taking their guns away,” said Ethan Rohr, a student at the University of Nebraska.
Susan Rohr, who bought “bulletproof school backpacks” for her three children, said Americans must “make our schools safer for students.” But that does not mean taking away weapons from citizens.”
Editor’s note: A previously published version of this story misidentified Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley’s former position. She is a former governor of South Carolina and former ambassador to the United Nations under the Trump administration.
Sign Up Reporter Galen Bacharier contributed to this story.
Donnelle Eller covers agriculture, environment and energy for the Register. Contact her at email@example.com or 515-284-8457.