Tensions rise between the two potential presidential candidates and their fans
The rivalry between former President Donald Trump and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is heating up, as both of them visited Iowa to attend the state fair and woo the Republican voters. However, their supporters were not so friendly with each other, as they got into a screaming match in a Des Moines bar on Friday night.
According to Politico, officials connected to a DeSantis-aligned super PAC called Never Back Down got into a verbal altercation with a Trump supporter at The Copper Cup bar. The argument lasted for several minutes and involved multiple F-bombs. The incident reportedly started with comments about Trump hats worn by some of the former president’s supporters, which falsely implied that he won the 2020 election.
One of the Never Back Down officials, Erin Perrine, remarked on the hats, saying “You know you lost,” according to a witness. A Trump supporter then made a “lewd” comment to Perrine, another source told Politico. However, the bickering did not escalate into physical violence.
DeSantis faces protests and chants at the state fair
While the bar fight was a minor incident, DeSantis faced more challenges at the state fair, where he was greeted by protesters and Trump loyalists. Before his Saturday interview with Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, a plane flew over the fair with a banner that said, “Be likable, Ron!” – a reference to a remark Rep. Matt Gaetz made to DeSantis on a leaked tape of his 2018 gubernatorial debate prep.
Later, as Reynolds and DeSantis were speaking on stage, protesters yelled at DeSantis to go back to Florida, prompting Reynolds to chide the crowd to be “Iowa nice.” Some of the protesters also shouted “Go back to Florida, pudding fingers!” – an allusion to a Daily Beast story that said he once ate chocolate pudding with three of his fingers rather than a spoon.
As he walked through the fairgrounds and manned a grill, DeSantis was met with chants of “We love Trump!” and “We want Trump!” from many of Trump’s fans who attended the fair. Some of them also wore hats that said “Back to Back Champ” or “Trump 2024.”
Trump and DeSantis compete for the GOP nomination
The events in Iowa reflect the growing competition between Trump and DeSantis for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024. Both of them have high approval ratings among GOP voters and have hinted at running for the White House. However, neither of them has officially declared their candidacy yet.
Trump has repeatedly claimed that he won the 2020 election and has not conceded defeat to President Joe Biden. He has also criticized some of his former allies who have not supported his baseless allegations of voter fraud, such as former Vice President Mike Pence and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. He has also expressed frustration with DeSantis for not being more vocal in defending him.
DeSantis, on the other hand, has emerged as a rising star in the Republican Party for his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic in Florida. He has resisted imposing lockdowns and mask mandates, and has promoted vaccine distribution and antibody treatments. He has also signed several conservative bills on issues such as election integrity, social media censorship, critical race theory, and transgender sports.
However, DeSantis has also faced criticism for his response to the recent surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in Florida, which has become the epicenter of the Delta variant outbreak in the US. He has clashed with local officials who have defied his ban on mask mandates in schools and businesses. He has also been accused of prioritizing his political ambitions over public health.