Late last week Iowans began to receive a mailer purporting to thank President Donald J. Trump for his support of the LGBTQ agenda. Earlier this week President Trump took a swipe at Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds for not supporting his campaign. And he decided against attending today’s Family Leadership Summit.
Mark it down. If Donald Trump loses the Iowa Caucus or wins by a tighter-than-expected margin, it will be because of the past seven days or so.
The mailer is clever. It shows Trump as a champion for LGBTQ rights and gay marriage. It’s an attack piece, no doubt, but it is an attack piece done from a positive perspective which will undoubtedly confuse some voters.
There is a lot of chatter about who is or isn’t responsible for the mailer, but if we’re being honest, that doesn’t matter. The question is are the claims on the mailer true? And the answer is yes, they are.
Trump did host a celebration with the Log Cabin Republicans at Mar-a-Lago after the Respect for Marriage Act passed. Trump supported homosexual marriage when he ran in 2016.
That mailer, if received by someone genuinely open to voting for someone other than Trump, will cost him votes.
Perhaps more painful than the mailer is Trump’s decision to target Gov. Reynolds. She has endeared herself to Iowa conservatives the last year or so by opening up the schools, unmasking kids in schools, trying to stop CRT, addressing inappropriate materials in schools, protecting women sports, protecting kids from experimental sex-change treatments and surgeries, and will be signing another Heartbeat Bill today.
That’s quite the list of accomplishments and doesn’t even touch on Education Savings Accounts, tax reform, property tax reform and government re-organization.
There may be issues with some of those bills, but the average Iowa voter doesn’t dig into the details. They base their opinion on the headlines. And all of those headlines are reasons Reynolds has earned the support — and trust — of Republican voters in the state.
Trump’s targeting of Reynolds cost him the endorsement of a state senator, triggered the former co-chair of the Republican Party of Iowa to criticize him and has proven his critics right. Trump’s worst enemy is often himself. It’s an unforced error and an unnecessary fight to pick.
But he couldn’t help himself.
As for skipping The FAMiLY Leader’s big annual event, Trump can overcome it. But when taken in whole with the rest of the week’s happenings, it doesn’t help. There will be a lot of eyes and ears tuned in for the event. And this event, in my opinion, is where Rick Santorum found his momentum and stride en route to the 2012 Iowa Caucus upset.
It’s where Santorum shared the story about his daughter, Bella, and won over pro-life Iowans across the state.
Trump doesn’t need the boost. He doesn’t need the momentum. To be fair, I think most Iowans have their mind made up on Trump. If the average Iowa Republican is planning to show up and caucus for Trump at this point, it’s hard to imagine something will happen to change their mind.
I would argue after the last seven years, there’s only one thing that can change any Trump supporter’s mind about Trump — and it’s Trump. This week was not a good week for him here in the Hawkeye State.
By all accounts, the 2024 Iowa Caucus is Trump’s race to lose. And if he does, we’ll be able to look back at this week as the week it started to unravel.