Trump absent as Iowa 2024 GOP caucus train begins to roll

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) — After a slow start, Republican presidential prospects are streaming into Iowa, the leadoff presidential caucus state. Notably absent from the lineup, at least for now, is former President Donald Trump.

Few of the White House hopefuls face the lofty expectations in Iowa that Trump does. He finished a competitive second to devout social conservative Ted Cruz in 2016. Trump went on to carry the state twice, by healthy margins, as the Republican presidential nominee in the 2016 and 2020 elections.

Though the caucuses are nearly a year off, they remain the first event on the nomination calendar, and some Iowa GOP activists have taken notice of Trump’s absence.