Donald Trump: 'I will very, very, very probably' run for president – Des Moines Register

SIOUX CITY ― As he stumped for Iowa Republicans Thursday night, Donald Trump told his huddled, chilly fans that next week’s midterm elections are the first step toward a greater victory ― one, he hinted strongly, with him at the center.
“In order to make our country successful and safe and glorious,” the former Republican president said, “I will very, very, very probably do it again.”
Everyone understood what “it” was ― run for president.
Outside the Sioux Gateway Airport, where frigid winds carried a strong stench of manure, the crowd cheered louder than it had all evening. They chanted his name.
“Get ready,” he said. “That’s all I’m telling you. Get ready.”
Ostensibly, Trump came to deep red northwest Iowa Thursday night to stump for state’s Republicans, headlined by Gov. Kim Reynolds and U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley. But his speech quickly shifted ― and fixated on ― Trump himself.
He spent a few minutes trumpeting what he described as wins for Iowa farmers, including negotiated trade deals with Canada, China and Mexico. He also complimented the candidates, making a point on how tough Grassley was.
But those comments were sandwiched among many claims about himself, launching into unproven accusations of voter fraud and debunked claims of rigged elections, endorsing same-day-only voting and paper ballots that he said would “save a lot of money” and promising to “make America great again.”
He wrapped up the speech by connecting next week’s midterm election results to larger victories in 2024.
“This is the year we’re going to take back the House,” he said. “We’re going to take back the Senate. We’re going to take back America. And in 2024 ― most importantly ― we’re going to take back our magnificent White House. We’re going to take it back. We should have never left.”
Trump has coyly suggested at recent events that he will run for president again in 2024, though he hasn’t made any official declarations. 
Thursday’s visit comes as he is reportedly preparing to launch a new presidential campaign in 2024. Associates of Trump said they expect the former president to announce his candidacy shortly after Election Day but cautioned that the timing is up to him, USA TODAY reported.
Iowa will once again lead off the presidential nominating process with its Republican caucus in 2024, and potential challengers have already made stops in the state.
Iowa Republicans hope Trump’s visit will fire up the party’s base and drive turnout in critical midterm elections next week. Outside the event, the parking lot lawn featured the usual Trump-centric merchandise, with vendors hawking hats and flags and hoodies dedicated to the former president.
U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a firebrand Republican from Georgia, warmed up the crowd, taking the stage to hail her party’s “one true leader” ― Trump.
“Republicans are going to have to be the new Republican Party,” she said, urging on the crowd. “We can no longer be the party of Mitch McConnell, John McCain, Dick Cheney, George Bush and Mitt Romney … or any other sell-out, weak Republican.”
There were plenty of Iowans eager to hear that message. By 2:30 p.m., lines of people had already formed.
Bob Witchey arrived at the Sioux Gateway Airport at 10 a.m. Thursday, nine hours before Trump was scheduled to take the stage.
Witchey, a 61-year-old cattle rancher from O’Neill, Nebraska, stopped by a vendor’s tent, bought a camouflage “Trump 2024” hat and got in line with his fellow conservative diehards. They talked about the need for Republicans to take control of the U.S. House and Senate during next week’s elections, decrease government spending and arrest more immigrants at the Mexican border.
Witchey said he drove two hours to Sioux City on Thursday morning because the event was a “once in a lifetime opportunity” to stand with like-minded thinkers and see Trump up close.
“I didn’t wait for eight hours just to stand here,” he said, shaking the green paper bracelet on his wrist that put him in a gated-off section near the stage. “I want to be up front. It’s kind of a trophy to me.”
In fact, at Trump’s urging, security let others into the gated-off section up front about halfway through the speech. Trump told the crowd it was a shame that the “fake news media” had a better view of them than they did. The event was also less crowded than some of his others, including his appearance in Des Moines last year.
Republicans were banking on Trump’s Iowa visit to help stoke a “red wave” of enthusiasm and discontent that could help them wipe the board of Democrats, lifting lesser-known down-ballot candidates such as Republican attorney general candidate Brenna Bird and auditor candidate Todd Halbur.
An October Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll shows Reynolds handily leading her Democratic opponent, businesswoman Deidre DeJear. The same poll shows Grassley with his narrowest lead since he was first elected to the U.S. Senate and “squeaky tight” contests in two of four U.S. House districts.
“We’re all fired up tonight,” Reynolds told the crowd. “We’re five days out, and we talk an awful lot about a red wave. And the only way that red wave is going to happen is if we build it. And in order to build it, we need you to show up.”
“Please help me get my own attorney general in Brenna Bird!” Reynolds said to cheers. Bird is challenging longtime Iowa Democratic Attorney General Tom Miller.
Grassley also tossed some political red meat for the crowd.
“I’m not going to give up on trying to get political bias out of the FBI,” he said, drawing his biggest cheer of the night. “And I’m not going to give up on my investigation of Hunter Biden and other Bidens.”
Iowa Democrats were critical of Trump and Iowa Republicans who appeared with him.
“While Kim Reynolds and Chuck Grassley pal around with a defeated former president who continues to attack our democracy, Iowa Democrats are busy knocking doors, meeting Iowans where they are and mobilizing voters,” Iowa Democratic Party Chair Ross Wilburn said in a statement. “Kim Reynolds, Chuck Grassley and the Iowa GOP take orders from their corporate donors, billionaire buddies and MAGA Republicans at the expense of Iowa’s working families.”
In a counter-rally in Des Moines at the same time Thursday night, Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Mike Franken indirectly took aim at Trump and Grassley, emphasizing the importance of “country over party.”
“Our campaign centers around country over party,” Franken said. “But you know, I believe at the center of every campaign, every leader, every elected office must be the basic sense that it’s country over yourself. Even when there’s money to be made, favors to be curried, it’s you second to the objective.”
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The former president has been on the road throughout October, holding rallies for Republicans across the country. But he remains a polarizing figure, and he’s focused his attention on races where he can help drive his “MAGA” base without alienating potential swing voters.
Though he lost the 2020 election to Democrat Joe Biden, Trump carried Iowa in both 2016 and 2020.
When he led the ticket as a presidential candidate in 2020, Iowa Republicans credited him with helping to drive a surge of voters that lifted GOP candidates across the board.
“There is no question, (Trump) was a real force in the turnout of Republicans,” Republican strategist David Kochel told the Des Moines Register at the time. “Without the base being as galvanized as they were, none of our candidates would have been successful.”
The Register’s latest Iowa Poll shows that most Iowans hold unfavorable views of Trump, but most Republicans view him favorably.
The poll found 52% of Iowans say their feelings toward Trump are very or mostly unfavorable — up from 45% who said so in September 2021. The number of Iowans who say their feelings toward Trump are very or mostly favorable has dropped to 46% from 53% in September 2021. Yet Trump earns favorable ratings from 83% of Republicans.
During Thursday’s appearance, Trump largely stumped on his usual talking points about the country’s problems under Biden. He told the crowd that too many immigrants were entering the country, that cities like Atlanta and Chicago are too dangerous and that New York taxes people too much.
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He attacked “communist” Democrats for expanding the times when people can vote. He said the liberal party should not allow transgender girls to compete in girls’ athletics, echoing a statement Reynolds made.
Trump also lashed out about the criminal probes against him.
“They even raided Mar-a-Lago,” he said. “Can you believe it? They raided Mar-a-Lago. Spying on their political rivals. Silencing dissent and using the full force of government, law enforcement, and the media to try and defeat the greatest movement in the history of our country. MAGA! MAGA!”
Trump again declared Democrats rigged the election against him ― an accusation that court after court has rejected.
“This is a very unfair thing to your favorite president,” Trump said. “But what the hell? I’ve been treated so unfairly. What the hell difference does it make? … Your favorite president got screwed.”
If Trump does officially run for president, he could have competition within his own party.
Other potential candidates have already begun flooding Iowa, which will hold its traditional first-in-the-nation Republican caucuses in 2024 to launch the presidential nominating process. They include former Vice President Mike Pence, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley and U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton.
Sisters Brenda Vodensteine, Barb Kreber and Julie Phillips came to Sioux City Thursday to feel energized before the election. They said they hope Trump runs again in 2024.
“He has the guts to stand up,” said 67-year-old Bob Phillips, Julie’s husband.
“He’s the only one who’s fearless enough,” added Vodensteine. 
“He’s got common sense,” Kreber said.
“We had prosperity (when he was in office),” Vodensteine said. “We had safety.”
“And we had common sense,” Kreber said.
Bill Wood, 70, of Galva, said he wasn’t so sure about a 2024 run for Trump. He wants to see how a primary shakes out, and he’s interested in Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. 
Wood, a retired manager at the Tyson Foods pork processing plant in Storm Lake, said Republicans need to take control of Congress, force government officials to patrol the border more intensely and spend less money.
Greene, a Republican U.S. representative known for espousing right-wing conspiracy theories, helped rally the crowd before Trump’s arrival. She decried rising inflation and high rates of crime.
“But the only crime victim you hear about from Democrats and the media is Paul Pelosi,” she said, drawing boos from the crowd.
Paul Pelosi, the husband of U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, was brutally assaulted by a man who broke into his San Francisco home looking for his wife.
“Paul Pelosi should have been a gun owner and shot his attacker,” Greene continued. “But Democrats in the media completely ignore horrific crimes against Americans every day.”
Greene also called for a “new Republican Party” in order to “truly save America” and called out Republicans whom Grassley has served with, such as McConnell, McCain and Romney, dismissing them as sellouts who hold “hands with Democrats and serves the globalist agenda that is the enemy of us all.
“Everyone knows the one true leader of the Republican Party, and that’s my favorite president and yours, Donald J. Trump.”
Iowa Poll:Most Iowans disapprove of President Joe Biden, say US is on the wrong track
Brianne Pfannenstiel is the chief politics reporter for the Register. Reach her at [email protected] or 515-284-8244. Follow her on Twitter at @brianneDMR.
Tyler Jett covers jobs and the economy for the Des Moines Register. Reach him at [email protected], 515-284-8215, or on Twitter at @LetsJett.


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