Trump warns Iowans Biden will ’empower violent mobs’ and shield terrorists

President Donald Trump holds up a "Make America Great Again" hat during a campaign rally in Des Moines on Oct. 14, 2020. (Screen shot from livestream)

President Donald Trump energized a crowd of supporters at the Des Moines International Airport Wednesday evening, eliciting cheers while calling his Democratic opponent, Joe Biden, a “corrupt politician who shouldn’t even be allowed to run for the presidency.”

During a rambling, 90-minute outdoor speech that was frequently interrupted by applause and chants of “U.S.A.,” the president said “this election is a choice between a Trump recovery at a level that nobody has ever seen before and a Biden depression.”

Trump said his opponent, now leading in most national polls, wants to hand control of the government to socialists and Marxists, and he also appeared to question the 77-year-old former vice president’s mental acuity and ability to serve.

“Let’s face it, Joe is shot, OK, whether you like it or not,” Trump said. “We can all be nice. It’s gonna be my turn someday. It’s even gonna be your turn someday, my friends. Someday! But you know when it is, you can’t be president.”

Trump, who is 74, told the crowd that the Obama-Biden administration “flooded your communities with illegal immigration, deadly drugs (and) MS-13 savages that assault, rape and murder innocent Americans.”

He warned that if Democrats take control of the White House or Congress, “your Second Amendment is gone, OK? They’ll empower violent mobs and shield deadly criminals and terrorists. It’s very simple.”

Trump calls himself ‘immune’ to COVID-19

Trump made only a few passing references to the pandemic that has claimed more than 219,000 lives in America, describing himself as “immune” from the COVID-19 virus he was infected with almost two weeks ago.

There appeared to be very little social distancing at the rally, although many of the participants were wearing “Make America Great Again” face masks.

The president called on states that are still restricting business activity due to the pandemic to “open up,” contradicting the advice of his own White House Coronavirus Task Force, and said his 14-year-old son, Barron, is doing fine now after testing positive, and then negative, for the virus.

“He had the China virus, right? And he had it for such a short period of time,” he said. “Within like two seconds, it was Barron is just fine now. He has tested negative, right? Because it happens. People have it and it goes. Get the kids back to school. We gotta get the kids back to school. Get ‘em back to school, alright? Get ‘em back.”

Biden responds to Trump’s Iowa visit

“Iowa has been ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic, with cases surpassing 100,000 this week and COVID-19 hospitalizations hitting a new high. But President Trump isn’t coming to the Hawkeye State to offer words of comfort to those suffering, or a helping hand to the Iowans who are out of a job, or an actual plan to get the virus under control. Instead, he’s here to spread more lies about the pandemic and distract from his record of failure.

“That’s not good enough. Iowans whose lives have been thrown into chaos need real leadership — not more division. I’ve seen our country through dark times before, helping rescue an economy in crisis. And I’ve fought for the health care protections this administration is battling in the U.S. Supreme Court to undo. We’re better than this moment under President Trump — and as President, I will bring this country together so that we can build back better.”

Trump calls Iowa ‘a very powerful state politically’

Addressing farmers in the crowd, Trump said, “One of the most important issues for Iowa is the whole thing that happened with ethanol, they were killing ethanol … The Biden-Harris platform will demolish Iowa ethanol, you know that. Wiping out the entire industry. And we fought hard for it, you know, we went through the whole thing where we had no demand because of the pandemic. And we all fought hard to keep it going, and to keep the ethanol going …

“So, I just tell you from Iowa, you know, you’re a very powerful state politically. You’re a big state to me, big in your heart. You have tremendous influence, and a tremendous power and you’ve never let me down.”

Trump praised Iowa’s Republican senators, Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst, and called on his supporters to back Ernst in her bid for re-election.

“Joni is fantastic, she’s been fighting for Iowa values for a long time,” he said. “She’ll call me: ‘Sir, can we do this?’ Nobody called me more on ethanol than Joni and Chuck. In fact, I used to duck their calls: ‘Just tell them I’m not in. I’m not in.’ I can’t take it any more, Joni.”

Trump also took the opportunity to revisit some of his favorite themes, reflecting on his 2016 victory (“That was one of the greatest evenings ever.”); the “corrupt lamestream media” that he said routinely publishes false, libelous stories; the Obama administration (“The fact is there was never an administration more corrupt than the Obama-Biden administration.”); and the investigation of Russian influence on the 2016 election (“How about the Russia hoax, it turns out that they were the ones that did the Russia — it was them. No collusion, no collusion.”)

Dan Gable to receive Presidential Medal of Freedom 

During his speech, Trump announced he would be awarding the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, to Iowa wrestling legend Dan Gable.

Gable was at Wednesday’s rally and was invited onto the stage to voice his support for the president in the coming election.

Gable won the 1972 Olympic Gold Medal in wrestling without giving up a single point to his opponents. He later worked at the University of Iowa where he coached 152 All-Americans, 45 national champions, 106 Big Ten champions and 12 Olympians.

Clark Kauffman
Deputy Editor Clark Kauffman has worked during the past 30 years as both an investigative reporter and editorial writer at two of Iowa’s largest newspapers, the Des Moines Register and the Quad-City Times. He has won numerous state and national awards for reporting and editorial writing. His 2004 series on prosecutorial misconduct in Iowa was named a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting. From October 2018 through November 2019, Kauffman was an assistant ombudsman for the Iowa Office of Ombudsman, an agency that investigates citizens’ complaints of wrongdoing within state and local government agencies.