Donald Trump touts poll numbers, farm subsidies in Iowa stump speech

Former President Donald Trump thanks supporters as he enters a campaign event for the Westside Conservative Club in Urbandale, Iowa, on Thursday. Photo by Joe Fisher/UPI
1 of 4 | Former President Donald Trump thanks supporters as he enters a campaign event for the Westside Conservative Club in Urbandale, Iowa, on Thursday. Photo by Joe Fisher/UPI

URBANDALE, Iowa, June 1 (UPI) -- Former President Donald Trump was brimming with confidence about his race for the Republican presidential nomination during a meeting with influential conservatives in Iowa on Thursday.

Trump took the microphone at the Machine Shed, a conservative hotspot in the Des Moines suburb of Urbandale, to speak to members of the Westside Conservative Club.


Before Thursday, Trump was one of the very few Republican presidential nominees who had not attended a club gathering since it was formed in 2008 after the election of President Barack Obama.

Trump opened by touting his poll numbers, which he said show him up by 40 points over "somebody" -- alluding to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

"There's no way we lose Iowa," Trump said. "I got China to give them for their farmers $28 billion, and a lot of people in this room, you got checks for hundreds of thousands of dollars."


Trump was referring to $28 billion in subsidies for farmers that he approved to offset the economic harm from his tariffs on goods from China. During a 2020 presidential debate, Trump also falsely claimed that the bailouts were paid for by China. It has not been corroborated that this is the case.

The room, built to hold about 100 people, was overflowing, with many supporters left standing. If there was anyone in attendance who was still on the fence about the former president they did not show it. Many of Trump's remarks were acknowledged with a "yes," "amen" or "we love you" from the audience.

Several current and former local Republican officials were in attendance to throw their support behind Trump again, including Sen. Brad Zaun, whom hosts called the first Iowa lawmaker to endorse Trump in 2015.

Notably absent was Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, who two days prior introduced Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis at a rally about a mile down the road. Reynolds has been a staunch ally of Trump's since she became governor in 2017.

Sticking with China, Trump continued to highlight his maneuvering on global trade, citing the trade agreement he reached with China in 2019. The deal came in the middle of the escalating trade war and promised that China would purchase more American goods. That deal, and his renegotiated USMCA agreement, were also cited to demonstrate his ability to help farmers in the Midwest.


As people gathered outside about two hours before Trump's arrival, a DeSantis campaign tour bus passed by on a side street, honking its horn. It later parked at the hotel next door, within sight of the crowd.

Like his fellow Republican candidates, Trump admonished President Joe Biden over security at the southern border. He claimed that as many as 15 million migrants will illegally enter the United States by the end of the year.

"We have no idea where they're from. They are from mental institutions. They are from prisons," he said, citing no support for these claims. "They're just pouring into our country."

Trump said it was "shocking" that the Biden administration did not extend Title 42, a measure that allowed Trump to enact stricter immigration policies designed to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Bringing the topics of trade, immigration, the withdrawal from Afghanistan and the war in Ukraine together, Trump said the world has "lost respect" for the United States. He said Russia would not have invaded Ukraine if he were president and implied that China will soon take control of Taiwan without his intervention.


"That all wouldn't have happened," Trump said. "We wouldn't have had inflation. We would be energy dominant right now -- not independent. You would be paying $1.87 right now."

After lauding his prior accomplishments and taking aim at the Biden administration, Trump turned his attention to current mainstream conservative talking points such as anti-transgender rhetoric.

In his longest diatribe relating to a Republican opponent, Trump chided DeSantis, saying it will take him eight years in office to accomplish his conservative agenda. Trump said he would accomplish his goals in six months.

"If it takes eight years to turn this around, you don't want him as your president," Trump said. "It's going to happen very quickly. I think within six months you're going to see a major part of the comeback. Not eight years."

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