DeSantis rallies support in Iowa as Trump sits out

  • DeSantis and Trump were scheduled to hold competing events in Iowa Saturday
  • DeSantis spoke to crowds across the state, hinting at a likely 2024 bid
  • Trump says the DeSantis' numbers are "dropping like a rock"
Republican presidential candidate Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis greets supporters during a caucus night party, Monday, Jan. 15, 2024, in West Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Republican presidential candidate Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis greets supporters during a caucus night party, Monday, Jan. 15, 2024, in West Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

(NewsNation) — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis took hold of the campaign trail after making three stops across Iowa, despite not having officially thrown his hat in the ring for the 2024 election.

Former President Donald Trump was also scheduled to hold a rally in Iowa but canceled last minute, citing weather concerns.

“We’ve done that in Florida they’ve done that in Iowa. Ya know and we’re gonna have a chance pretty soon to make sure that’s done in every state in this country,” DeSantis told a crowd in Des Moines, hinting at his plans to enter the 2024 race.

His surprise stop in Des Moines, at a popular barbeque spot, was just a short drive from where Trump was set to address his supporters.

Instead, Trump opted to call supporters in the state, saying, “I wanted to see you today but a little thing called tornados they prevailed,” according to his campaign team.

The claim that a tornado prevented Trump from holding his event brought on criticism from some conservatives, who say it was a “beautiful Iowa evening.”

DeSantis allies took to social media, noting Trump’s absence and trolling him with tweets about the “beautiful” weather.

This only invited more bashing from Trump.

“Rob DeSanctimonious and his poll numbers are dropping like a rock – I would almost be inclined to say, these are record “falls.” The question: Is “Rob” just young, inexperienced and naive or, more troubling, is he a fool who has no idea what he is doing. We already have one of those in office, we don’t need another one. MAGA!” Trump posted on Truth Social.

DeSantis didn’t hold back on his criticisms of Trump either, making subtle jabs while addressing crowds in Iowa.

“We must reject the culture of losing that has infected our party in recent years,” DeSantis said. “If we make the 2024 election a referendum on Joe Biden and his failures, we provide a positive alternative for the future of this country republicans will win across the board.”

“If we do not do that if we get distracted if we focus the election on the past or on other side issues then I think the Democrats are going to beat us again and I think it will be very difficult to recover from that defeat,” DeSantis added.

Despite these messages, DeSantis has yet to make an official bid for the White House.

When asked by NewsNation whether he was close to making an announcement, DeSantis responded with “No news yet. Just hang out there.”

2024 Election

Copyright 2024 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

Trending on NewsNation