Sat. Jul 13th, 2024

N.D. Gov. Doug Burgum, ex-GOP presidential candidate, endorses Trump ahead of Iowa caucuses

By 37ci3 Jan14,2024

Ramaswamy says Iowans need to ‘strike’ at what he sees as the media’s narrative of him tomorrow

During his second stop of the day, Vivek Ramaswamy spoke to what looked like about 150 people packed into a medium-sized restaurant in Ames. He spoke a lot about the weather tomorrow night and told people to “prove the media wrong” and come out to “strike” at the narrative. 

Two young people stood up at the event to ask why he wants to change the voting age to 25 when he also talks about getting young people to rally around him. Ramaswamy said in response that he thinks more people need to learn about this country from a young age and take a civics test. 

A few people in attendance were wearing “SAVE TRUMP VOTE VIVEK” t-shirts with Trump’s mug shot on it, which had invoked the Trump campaign’s ire


Trump’s tumultuous rally

The former president’s one-and-only rally in the lead up to the Iowa caucuses was full of commotion — an on-stage endorsement from North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, two interruptions from climate protestors, ramped up attacks on Nikki Haley, auctioneering from former U.S. Rep. Billy Long, and more.

At the top of his remarks, Trump commented on the large crowd despite the inclement weather, “We have a lot of people here. If this is any indication, the storm has had zero affect,” Trump said.

 Midway through Trump’s remarks, he brought Burgum and his wife on stage to give him their endorsement. Burgum’s surprise endorsement was initially drowned out by a climate protestor, but he went on to say he would be the first 2024 presidential primary candidate to endorse Trump. 

This afternoon, Trump’s attacks weren’t necessarily sharpened on Haley, but he did spend much more time talking about her over DeSantis and Biden, once again trying to delegitimatize what he mockingly calls the “Haley surge.”

“I understand her very well, better than anybody,” Trump said. “By the way, she’s not up to the job, okay, I can tell you. I don’t want to be mean,” Trump said. 

 Trump was interrupted twice this afternoon by protestors, first by three young individuals, and a few minutes later by a lingering fourth. Both protests were affiliated with the Sunrise Movement, the executive director of the organization confirmed to NBC News.

GOP Sen. Marco Rubio endorses Trump

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., announced his endorsement of Trump in a post to X praising the former president.

“When Trump was in WH I achieved major policies I had worked on for years (like expanded Child Tax Credit & tough sanctions on regime in Cuba & Venezuela) because we had a President who didn’t cave to special interests or let bureaucrats block us,” he wrote.

“I support Trump because that kind of leadership is the ONLY way we will get the extraordinary actions needed to fix the disaster Biden has created,” he added. “It’s time to get on with the work of beating Biden & saving America!”

Rubio ran against Trump in the 2016 GOP presidential primaries. They exchanged a series of attacks against each other while on the campaign trail. But he later expressed regret for lobbing insults at Trump, saying it may have backfired on him in his efforts to acquire more delegates at the time.

NBC News spent a week crisscrossing Iowa, talking to Republican caucusgoers. Here’s what we found.

SIOUX CITY, Iowa — Much like the Republican presidential candidates, NBC News has spent the past week trekking more than 500-miles across the state of Iowa talking to caucus goers in key counties.

From the ultra-conservative northwest part of the state to the suburbs outside of Des Moines support for the front-runner Donald Trump is largely unwavering — even among those who didn’t back him in 2016, including Ernie Rudolph.

Rudolph says other candidates are making promises that Trump has already delivered on.

“I hear them say, ‘Well we’re gonna secure the border.’ Well, Trump did that. ‘We’re gonna fix the economy.’ Well, Trump did that,” Rudolph, who backed Rick Santorum in 2016, said over coffee at the Machine Shed in Urbandale.

But his friend across the table, Richard Rogers, said Trump is no longer the man for the job. 

“He’s older. He’s got huge problems,” Rogers, who caucused for Cruz in 2016, said. He added, “I believe that every Republican candidate, from dogcatcher to the U.S. Senate, will be forced to daily defend, ‘How can you support this person as a leader of your party.’”

More than 80-miles away in Carroll, sandwich shop owner Troy Phipps is also concerned about Trump’s candidacy, but he not turning out for Haley or DeSantis either.

“I don’t think there’s any point in caucusing right now,” Phipps said, noting the former president’s commanding lead in the polls. “Trump is gonna be the nominee.”

In Iowa’s northwest Sioux County, where Trump performed the worst in 2016 — largely because of the county’s significant evangelical population, who backed Senator Ted Cruz — we found many caucusgoers still considering DeSantis but leaning toward Trump.

One exception? First-time caucusgoer Emma Farmer, whose big issue this election is abortion.

A freshman at Northwestern College, a private Christian school, Farmer is backing Haley and plans to caucus — contingent on one thing: “It depends on how cold it is,” she said.

Former Arkansas governor and GOP hopeful Asa Hutchinson showed no signs of dropping out of the presidential race while in Ames, Iowa. Hutchinson told NBC News’ Ali Vitali that he’s got his plane ticket for the New Hampshire caucuses despite his low polling in Iowa.

Iowa principal who risked his life to protect students during mass shooting has died

The principal of Perry High School has died from injuries sustained during the mass shooting that took place earlier this month, according to a relative who posted the news on a GoFundMe page created to assist with his medical costs.

Dan Marburger, who was principal of the school since 1995, put himself in harms way to protect students and faculty during the shooting.

“He fought hard and gave us 10 days that we will treasure forever,” his relative said in a comment on the fundraising website.

Marburger was among the three staff members and four students who were injured when a 17-year-old student opened fire at the school.

Marburger tried to calm down the shooter and “distract him” so students could flee, according to a Facebook post from his daughter, Claire. He received multiple gunshot wounds.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds offered her condolences Sunday to the Marburger family.

“Dan courageously put himself in harm’s way to protect his students, and ultimately gave his own life to save them,” she said. “He will forever be remembered for his selfless and heroic actions. May he rest in peace.”

Read the full story here.

Haley plays up femininity, plays down feminism in her 2024 pitch

IOWA CITY, Iowa — She campaigns in sweaters that declare, “She who dares wins.” She brushes off attacks from her opponents as pettiness from “the fellas.” Her heels, she says, were made for kicking.

But when Nikki Haley asks voters to help her make history, she says it’s not that history.

“Think of the fact that you might be making history in this moment,” the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations told Iowa voters in a weekend swing through Cedar Falls ahead of Monday’s first-in-the-nation GOP caucuses. “And I’m not talking about history of a female president. I’m talking about history saying we are going to finally right the ship in America. We’re finally going to get it right.”

It’s a tricky balancing act that may best be understood through the lens of a candidate who has built a cross-party coalition with a range of views on how, if at all, to prioritize her gender.

Read the full story here.

Haley opposes gender affirming medical procedures before age 18

Nikki Haley said she is against any medical procedures for transgender individuals before the age of 18, but added, “After 18, I’m not going to say anything.”

“You always have to believe in freedom and allowing people to live the life the way they want to live,” she said during a telephone town hall. “And if that’s how they choose and, you know, I don’t think government should have any say in that.”

The comments were in response to a question from a potential caucusgoer, who asked whether she believed a man can become a woman. In his question, the man, who was identified as “John,” referred to Donald Trump’s lack of a direct answer when asked the question by Megyn Kelly in September.

Haley said she “strongly” believes people should not be able to “permanently change their body until they’re 18, and that includes puberty blockers, that includes any sort of hormones that would do that,” as well as gender-affirming surgeries.

Trump Campaign Texts Iowans Urging Them To Layer Up

Former President Donald Trump’s campaign sent a text message blast to Iowans on Sunday advising them on how to dress amid record-cold temperatures in the Hawkeye State.

“Don’t forget to dress VERY warm,” read the mass text message, which included reminders of how the caucusing process operates.

The weather forecast is slated to make Monday’s nominating contest the coldest Iowa caucuses in recorded history.

Why one first-time caucusgoer wants to stop Nikki Haley

It’s not easy to find undecided first-time caucusgoers this late in the process, but they’re still out there.

Brian Shields, who turns 32 on Monday, said he’s going to caucus in West Des Moines to stop one candidate.

“I’m a Naval veteran and I don’t want Nikki Haley, that’s for sure,” said Shields, who moved to Iowa from California in 2020. “I have some concerns about getting dragged into yet another pointless war.”

Shields said he likes Vivek Ramaswamy’s fresh takes on politics, but acknowledged the first-time candidate, who ran fourth in a new NBC News Iowa caucus poll released Sunday, “doesn’t really have a snowball’s chance in hell.”

If not Ramaswamy, then he’ll go for former President Donald Trump, he said.

“We lived through a single term of Trump,” Shields said. “The world didn’t burn to the ground.” 

North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum endorses Trump

INDIANOLA, Iowa — North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, a former Republican presidential candidate, announced his endorsement of Trump at the former president’s rally in Iowa.

“Four years ago, I was speaking on behalf of President Trump at the Iowa caucuses in Sioux City,” he said. “And today I’m here to do something that none of the other presidential primary candidates have done and that’s endorse Donald J. Trump.”

Burgum’s endorsement of Trump marks a reversal from his past criticism of the former president. In an interview on NBC News’ “Meet the Press” last year, the North Dakota governor said he doesn’t think he would do business with Trump, saying “I just think that it’s important that you’re judged by the company that you keep.”

In the most Doug Burgum of moments, Burgum’s endorsement of Trump initially was drowned out by hecklers, and then by supporters trying to drown out the hecklers. And after Burgum left the stage, Trump began name-checking a bunch of other endorsers in the audience, many of them better known to the crowd than the North Dakota governor. (Glenn Jacobs, the former WWE star who wrestled under the ring name Kane, for example.)

Attracting attention was always Burgum’s biggest problem as a long-shot presidential candidate. He qualified for the early debates only after spending from his personal fortune to raise his name-recognition and lure small-dollar donors with the promise of free gas cards.

Trump event is interrupted by climate protesters

INDIANOLA, Iowa — As Trump’s rally here got underway, several climate protesters shouted from the crowd, “You took millions!” bringing the event to a halt.

Trump responded, “Go home to Mommy.”

The protesters were then led away.

Aru Shiney-ajay, the executive director of the climate group Sunrise Movement, confirmed the four protestors involved were with the organization.

Protesters from the group also interrupted a campaign event for Vivek Ramaswamy earlier this week and one for Ron DeSantis in Ames last week. One of those protesters at the DeSantis event was swiftly tackled by security.

Ramaswamy supporter says Trump criticism came ‘a little late’

ANKENY, Iowa — Former President Donald Trump’s decision to blast entrepreneuer Vivek Ramaswamy could dent Ramaswamy’s standing ahead of the Iowa caucuses. But it hasn’t swayed Jaqueline Rikena, who braved the subzero temperatures to see Ramaswamy speak at Grimaldi’s Pizzeria on Sunday morning.

“It’s a little late,” said Rikena, 58 of West Des Moines, who was sporting a Ramaswamy campaign button. She caucused for Trump in 2016 and 2020, and she was undecided between Trump and Ramaswamy a few months ago. But she said she ultimately decided to back Ramaswamy because he has clear plans and advocates cutting government agencies, and because of his younger age.

 “I want somebody who has better days ahead of them than behind them,” said Rikena, who was sporting a Ramaswamy campaign button. She believes Trump is targeting Ramaswamy “because people are jumping from being a supporter to where I am.”

Ramaswamy has said that he can still win the Iowa caucuses, despite recent polling showing him with low levels of support. Just 8% of likely Iowa GOP caucusgoers say in the latest NBC News/Des Moines Register/Mediacom poll that Ramaswamy is their first-choice candidate for president.

House Republicans to issue new subpoenas for Hunter Biden in coming weeks

House Republicans on the Judiciary and Oversight Committees said Sunday that they will issue new subpoenas for President Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden after his lawyer said he would comply with a congressional subpoena if the lawmakers issue a “new proper” one.

House Oversight Committee Chair James Comer, R-Ky., and House Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, indicated that new subpoenas to Hunter Biden would be issued in the coming weeks in a letter to Hunter Biden’s lawyer Abbe Lowell on Sunday.

Comer and Jordan maintained that their initial subpoenas requesting his deposition behind closed doors are “lawful and legally enforceable” and again criticized his defiance of the subpoenas. Hunter Biden’s legal team had asserted that their client would only testify in a public setting. On the day he was scheduled to appear for a closed-door deposition last month, Hunter Biden instead delivered public remarks in front of the Capitol, taking no questions.

Read the full story here.

Former Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan endorses Haley: She’s ‘got all the momentum’

Former Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, an outspoken Trump critic, announced his endorsement of Haley this morning.

During an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Hogan argued that Haley is the GOP’s best chance to win in the general election in November and that she has all the momentum behind her right now.

Hogan acknowledged that Trump is the front-runner, but noted that winners of the Iowa caucuses in the past two decades did not win the GOP nomination.

“So it’s really about the fight for second place,” he said, adding that DeSantis “put all the marbles” on Iowa with the time and money he has spent campaigning in the state but is “going in the wrong direction.”

“I think Nikki Haley’s got all the momentum. What this race is really all about is to try to nominate the strongest possible nominee for November,” he added. “I’m convinced that the momentum is with Nikki Haley, that she has the potential of moving into second place, although it’d be a distant second place, which gives her momentum heading into New Hampshire, where she’s only 7 points down, and I think that’s a real possibility.”

Hogan argued that if Haley comes in second place in Iowa, she could potentially win the GOP nomination in New Hampshire, putting her in a “much better position” for the primaries in her home state of South Carolina. 

Asked whether his remarks indicate an endorsement of Haley, Hogan said that when he decided against a presidential campaign, he didn’t want to see “a multicar pileup” that would enable Trump. He then acknowledged Haley’s performance in recent polls.

“I think we want to have the strongest possible nominee in November. Polls show that that is Nikki Haley, that she’s 17 points ahead of Joe Biden, and it’s a toss-up with Trump and Biden, and DeSantis is losing,” he said.

He then called on the GOP to support Haley.

“So, yes, I think it’s time for the party to get behind Nikki Haley.” He said. “My friend Chris Christie dropped out of the race in New Hampshire. I appreciate his effort. But I believe that Nikki Haley is the strongest chance for us to put forth our best possible candidate for November.”

GOP Sen. Joni Ernst faults Trump for Jan. 6 ‘hostages’ remarks

Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, criticized former President Donald Trump on Sunday for his use of the word “hostages” to describe his supporters who were imprisoned in connection with the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, saying there’s “no comparison” between their incarceration and the plight of those taken hostage by Hamas after the terrorist group’s Oct. 7 attack on Israel.

At an event in Iowa last week, Trump said President Joe Biden “ought to release the J6 hostages. They’ve suffered,” using the abbreviation for Jan. 6. “I call them hostages,” he said. “Some people call them prisoners. I call them hostages. Release the J6 hostages, Joe. Release them, Joe. You can do it real easy, Joe.”

On NBC News’ “Meet the Press” on Sunday, moderator Kristen Welker asked Ernst, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee who recently traveled to the Middle East with other lawmakers as part of efforts to secure the release of remaining American hostages, whether the former president’s characterization of the Jan. 6 rioters bothers her.

“It does in this context because we do have American hostages that are being held against their will all around the globe, and especially if you look at the innocents that were attacked and kidnapped on Oct. 7,” Ernst said. “We are approaching nearly 100 days. These are people that have been taken. They’re held in tunnels with terrorists, they are being tortured, they have been raped, they have been denied medication. So equating the two, there is no comparison.”

“The hostages are hostages,” she added. “I would certainly, you know, ask to speak to any of their families and see the anguish and the pain of not knowing whether their loved ones are alive or dead. There is a very clear difference.”

Read the full story here.

With one day until the Iowa caucuses, NBC News Chief Political Analyst Chuck Todd discusses the possible outcomes and explores what a strong second-place showing would mean for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst doesn’t rule out endorsing Trump, but calls Nikki Haley ‘a great candidate’ 

Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, declined on Sunday to endorse a Republican presidential candidate a day before the Iowa caucuses, but said she would not rule out backing former President Donald Trump if he wins in the state.

In an interview on NBC News’ “Meet the Press,” Ernst also said when asked about former United Nations Amb. Nikki Haley’s favorable polling in a general election matchup against Biden that Haley is “a great candidate” and has experience on key issues that could resonate with Iowa Republicans.

Trump has a nearly 30-point lead in the final NBC News/Des Moines Register/Mediacom poll before Monday’s caucuses. The poll also shows Haley narrowly ahead of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, with 20% versus his 16%.

“Meet the Press” moderator Kristen Welker asked Ernst about her response to recent polling.

“In our poll [Haley] comes in second place,” Welker said. “But if you look at the polls overall, she does best against President Biden in a general election campaign. Former President Trump is tied effectively with President Biden. If Republicans want to win back the White House, is Nikki Haley your best bet?”

Ernst responded that “if you look at the issues that are top of mind for Iowa Republicans, they are the economy, they’ve suffered under President Biden, it is the southern border and the flow of illegal migrants into the United States. But overall, if you look at national security, protecting our borders, and pushing back against our adversaries worldwide, Nikki Haley does have the experience there, and she’s really spoke to that to the Iowa voters. So that may be one of the tipping points that resonate with so many different voters.”

Asked whether she plans to endorse whichever candidate emerges as the winner after the Iowa caucuses, Ernst said, “it’ll depend, I have gone round and round in my mind,” and acknowledged that Trump is the front-runner in the race thus far.

“But it’s not a foregone conclusion,” she said. “So we’ll see who comes out the winner here in the Iowa caucuses. We’ll know that tomorrow night, and then we’ll know how to move forward.”

Read the full story here.

Poll: Nearly half of Haley’s Iowa backers say they’ll vote for Biden over Trump

DES MOINES, Iowa — Most likely Republican Iowa caucusgoers say they’ll vote for former President Donald Trump in the general election if he’s the GOP nominee, regardless of the candidate they’re supporting on caucus night.

That is, except supporters of former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, with nearly half of them — 43% — saying they’d vote for Democratic President Joe Biden over Trump.

These new findings from the latest NBC News/Des Moines Register/Mediacom poll of Iowa further illustrate the degree to which Haley is bringing in support from independents, Democrats and Republicans who have been uneasy with Trump’s takeover of the GOP. Fully half of her Iowa caucus supporters are independents or crossover Democrats, according to the survey results. Overall, Haley took 20% for second place in the survey, compared to 48% for Trump.

The poll also shows three-quarters of caucusgoers believing Trump can defeat Biden despite the former president’s legal challenges. But again, a majority of Haley’s supporters think it will be nearly impossible for Trump to win.

“I am more officially a Democrat who used to be a Republican and have kind of switched over, and basically I’m wanting to caucus in Iowa for the least of the worst,” said 37-year-old poll respondent Chelsea Cheney of Linn County.

“And in looking through all of them, I think that’s Nikki Haley,” Cheney added. “I don’t necessarily love her, but I don’t find her dangerous in ways that I find many of the other candidates dangerous.”

Pollster J. Ann Selzer, who has been conducting this Iowa survey over the last three decades, said, “Haley is consolidating the anti-Trump vote. She does well with the people who define themselves as anti-Trump.”

Read the full story here.

First-time Iowa caucusgoers could fuel a big win for Trump

Former President Donald Trump isn’t just looking to win Iowa’s GOP caucuses on Monday. He’s looking for a big win.

For that, he’ll need supporters like Gene Pinegar to show up. Pinegar, a 72 year-old veteran from Marshall County, has never attended a Republican caucus before. A self-described independent, he registered with the Republican Party just so he can participate this year and support the former president.

“Donald Trump deserves me going, with all the crap that the Democrats put him through,” Pinegar told NBC News in a phone interview on Saturday morning. “You know, I can stand up for him, too.”

A new NBC News/Des Moines Register/Mediacom poll of likely Iowa caucusgoers released Saturday finds Trump dominating among first-time caucusgoers, with 56% saying he is their first-choice candidate.

Just 14% back former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, while 13% support Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and 11% back entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy.

That translates to more support for Trump and Ramaswamy among first-time caucusgoers than among likely caucusgoers overall, and slightly less support for Haley and DeSantis than among the total GOP electorate, according to the poll. The overall results are 48% for Trump, 20% for Haley, 16% for DeSantis and 8% for Ramaswamy.

Read the full story here.

Final Iowa poll: Trump maintains dominant lead before caucuses

DES MOINES, Iowa — Boosted by his standing with evangelical Christians, first-time caucusgoers and registered Republicans, former President Donald Trump holds a nearly 30-point lead in the final NBC News/Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa poll before Monday’s GOP caucuses.

The poll also finds Trump enjoying the backing of the most enthusiastic and committed likely caucusgoers, which could be crucial as the state grapples with subzero temperatures and even colder wind chills on caucus night.

“I know there’s a lot of controversy on him, but I just feel like he’s the man for the job right now,” said 34-year-old poll respondent Owen Monds of Des Moines, who said he’s caucusing for Trump. “You know, I don’t feel like anybody else who’s running is really qualified like he is.”

The poll shows former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley narrowly edging past Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for second place, although the gap is within the poll’s margin of error.

Yet while Haley’s first-choice support has ticked up, just 9% of her supporters say they’re extremely enthusiastic about her candidacy — substantially lower than the enthusiasm for Trump and even DeSantis.

“There is underlying weakness here,” pollster J. Ann Selzer said of Haley’s standing. “If turnout is low, it seems to me that a disproportionate share of her supporters might stay at home.”

Read the full story here.

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