STORY: Newly declared presidential candidate Ron DeSantis kicked off his first campaign tour beginning in Iowa Tuesday and stepped up his attacks on Donald Trump.
In remarks to the press after the main event, the Florida governor showed less restraint than he has before on the former president, who is his main opponent within the Republican party, suggesting Trump had become less conservative on issues like immigration, COVID policy and federal spending.
He said, “Unfortunately, he's decided to move left on some of these issues," calling Trump’s recent attacks on him “detached from reality...” and that “I think he's doing it in a way that the voters are going to side with me”.
Tuesday’s event was at a packed church in western Des Moines, earlier, the candidate had said the nation was on the wrong track.
[Ron DeSantis, Republican presidential candidate]
"We can see it and we can feel it. Our southern border has collapsed. The Mexican drug cartels have more control over what goes on at the border than our own United States government."
"Look at the economy. The Biden administration is doing all it can to make it harder for the average family to make ends meet and to attain and maintain a middle class lifestyle."
After a glitch-plagued debut on Twitter Spaces last week, DeSantis’ choosing Iowa to start an old school tour is a strategic move.
The Iowa caucuses host the country’s first nominating contests in election season – as they will next February.
More importantly, the state’s sizeable white, evangelical population have sometimes been at odds with Trump, and DeSantis may be able to seize on that.
Trump lost the state in 2016 to Ted Cruz, who mopped up most of the Christian vote.
DeSantis will hold four campaign events across the state on Wednesday, before heading to New Hampshire and South Carolina.