Trump is losing it over Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds' reported decision to endorse Ron DeSantis.
According to multiple reports, Reynolds will endorse the Florida governor at a rally tonight.
Trump holds a commanding lead in Iowa polling, but Reynolds' support is a big get for DeSantis.
Former President Donald Trump is taking it personally as Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds injects momentum into Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' struggling campaign.
According to multiple reports, Reynolds is set to endorse DeSantis at a rally in Des Moines on Monday evening, breaking with the mostly common tradition of Iowa's top political leaders staying on the sidelines before their state kicks off the GOP nomination fight. Reynolds' backing is a major get for DeSantis, who is trailing Trump by double digits in the state despite pinning most of his political future on the first-in-the-nation caucuses.
"Kim Reynolds apparently has begun her retirement tour early as she clearly does not have any ambition for higher office," Trump's campaign said in a blistering statement as news broke.
Trump himself blasted Reynolds in three separate posts on Truth Social, his social media platform. Trump has continued to argue that Reynolds owes him for her political standing due to his appointment of former Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad to be US ambassador to China, which allowed Reynolds to rise to the governorship and run as an incumbent. The reality is that while Trump's 2016 election accelerated Iowa's political orientation, Reynolds has effectively used the operation Branstad built for years to help distance Iowa from its recent past as a presidential swing state.
"I told her that I should have 'remained neutral' when she asked me to help her get elected, and that I didn't want or need her to campaign with me," Trump wrote in one post. In another post, Trump linked to Reynolds' overall approval in the state.
Like Branstad, Reynolds finds much to admire in her fellow governors. She and DeSantis took a similar approach to handling the COVID-19 pandemic, pushing back against shutdowns and mask mandates. DeSantis even held a joint Fox News town hall with Reynolds and three other GOP governors. More recently, DeSantis has suggested Reynolds could be his vice presidential running mate.
DeSantis desperately needs momentum. National polling averages show Trump has a 40-plus point lead. The Des Moines Register/NBC News/Mediacom Iowa Poll, the gold standard in the state, showed that DeSantis was dead even with former UN ambassador Nikki Haley for second and both GOP hopefuls were far behind Trump. DeSantis' hope is a strong finish against Trump could change the narrative, though the former president would need to have a historic collapse for DeSantis to gain the nomination.
Reynolds' endorsement does not guarantee victory. Branstad urged Republicans to vote for any candidate by Sen. Ted Cruz, a Texas Republican, in 2016 to no avail as Cruz held off Trump to win the caucuses. Even victory in Iowa might not reverse DeSantis' likely trajectory, as Cruz, former Sen. Rick Santorum, and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee all failed to turn their caucus victories into GOP nominations.
Trump and his allies have hammered DeSantis for months. In Iowa alone, a pro-Trump super PAC has spent over $22 million in anti-DeSantis ads, per California GOP consultant Rob Pyers. DeSantis' early launch was also plagued by a glitchy rollout and odd online videos, which further hurt his standing among some Republicans.
But DeSantis has managed to get under Trump's skin. In just over two months, we'll see how much it matters.
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