Donald Trump predicted Sunday that he will win the Iowa Republican presidential caucuses in January, ignoring what he called his advisers’ warning not to get too high even as he greeted his audience by naming a town in a neighboring state.
“I’m going around saying of course we’re going to win Iowa. My people say I’m not going to take it for granted,” Trump told his audience at the ornate Orpheum Theater in Sioux City, Iowa.
“There’s no way Iowa is going to vote against Trump,” he said, touting the economic benefits to agricultural states as a result of tariffs his government has imposed on China.
And yet, when Trump took the stage, he warmly welcomed a town more than 80 miles (125 kilometers) to the north, located across the border in South Dakota. “Happy to be in a place where we’ve done so well, Sioux Falls. Thank you very much,” he said, before correcting himself a few minutes later.
It was Trump’s eighth campaign event in Iowa in more than a month, part of the former president’s accelerated fall schedule ahead of the nation’s first caucuses in January.
Trump’s speech in Sioux City, in the heartland of Iowa’s heavily Republican-leaning west, followed last month’s events in the eastern and central parts of the state, where he drew thousands of people while His team is trying to conduct a more organized. campaign than in 2016, when the real estate magnate was not familiar with the process.
Although Trump has attacked Florida Governor Ron DeSantis for months, the former president on Sunday stepped up his criticism of Nikki Haley, the former US ambassador to the UN and a member of Trump’s cabinet, during Haley generated new curiosity among Iowa Republicans and rose in the polls.
Trump mocked Haley, who is also the former governor of South Carolina, for saying after she left her United Nations post that she would not run for president if Trump ran again in 2024.
Calling him the pejorative nickname “knucklehead,” he described Haley as a “very personable person.”
Trump later suggested that one reason he appointed Haley to his Cabinet when he was governor was to help Henry McMaster, then-lieutenant governor and a devoted Trump supporter, become governor.
“I like him,” Trump said. “I got two for the price of one.”