Governor Kim Reynolds is joining Republicans who’ve expressed doubts of Donald Trump’s chances of regaining the White House and has endorsed Florida Governor Ron DeSantis for president.
Reynolds joined DeSantis at a campaign rally last night in Des Moines. “I’ve thought long and hard about making this decision, about telling Iowans and telling you where I stand,” Reynolds said. “…I could not and cannot sit on the sidelines any longer.”
The Iowa Caucuses are the kick-off event in the 2024 GOP presidential race and Reynolds said that means Iowans play a critical role in making what she called “the right choice” in 2024. “We need someone who won’t get distracted, but will stay disciplined, who puts this country first and not himself,” Reynolds said.
Reynolds did not directly mention former President Donald Trump, who leads in public opinion polls here and elsewhere, but Reynolds described DeSantis as a candidate who’s looks to the future, not the past. “Someone who most importantly, can win and that person is Ron DeSantis,” Reynolds said, “and it is why I’m so proud to stand here tonight to give him my full support and endorsement for president of the United States of America.”
During tonight’s campaign rally with DeSantis, Reynolds made an indirect reference to Trump’s remark that it was “a terrible mistake” for DeSantis to sign a six week abortion ban. Reynolds, who has twice signed similar legislation, praised DeSantis for it. “Someone that knows when life begins and knows it’s a beautiful thing to save a beating heart,” Reynolds said.
Reynolds also said DeSantis was :the only candidate running for president” who stood up to Dr. Anthony Fauci, who was Trump’s chief medical advisor during the pandemic.
DeSantis began his remarks by thanking Reynolds for the endorsement, telling the crowd that as governor, Reynolds had delivered “really big results…when it’s not easy.:
DeSantis closed with this: “Follow Governor Reynolds’ lead. Take up with our campaign. Caucus for us in January. Bring some friends, bring some family. Iowa has the ability to jump start the comeback of this country.”
Casey DeSantis, who spoke just before Reynolds, acknowledged the endorsement may not be “politically convenient” for Reynolds. “Courageous leaders ignore threats of retaliation and dismiss false promises,” Casey DeSantis said.
Trump has called Reynolds “disloyal” and Trump posted on his social media site that Reynolds’ endorsement of DeSantis is “the end of her political career.” A few Trump supporters stood across the street from the DeSantis rally last (Monday) night and a pickup drove around the venue with a Trump flag streaming behind.
Reynolds is not the first governor to endorse a candidate before the Iowa Caucuses. Republican Terry Branstad endorsed Kansas Senator Bob Dole’s 1996 bid for the White House and campaigned extensively for Dole. Democrat Tom Vilsack endorsed John Kerry a few weeks after the 2004 Iowa Caucuses. Democrat Chet Culver was governor during President Obama’s 2012 reelection bid. Branstad, who returned to the governorship in 2011, did not endorse a presidential candidate in before the 2012 or 2016 Caucuses, but Branstad said just before the 2016 Caucuses that he hoped Ted Cruz would lose due to the Texas senator’s views on ethanol.