A crowd of more than 1,800 gathered in the Iowa State Fair’s livestock pavilion today to hear from many of the Iowa Republicans who are on the 2016 General Election ticket in November, with presidential nominee Donald Trump serving as the event’s closer.
“Together, we’re going to win this state in November and we are going to win the White House for the American people,” Trump said, to cheers, shortly after he took the stage.
The event was Senator Joni Ernst’s second annual Roast and Ride fundraiser.
“Folks, I can’t emphasize this enough, but we must come together and work to get out the vote for the entire Republican ticket,” Ernst said, getting applause from the crowd.
Iowa’s three Republican congressmen and the Republican candidate for congress in Iowa’s second congressional district spoke to the crowd, as did Senator Chuck Grassley. Grassley told the crowd he is “not hearing enough” at his town meetings about the Supreme Court.
“This is not an election just about the next four years for the president of the United States,” Grassley said. “This is an election for the direction of the Supreme Court for the next 40 years.”
Grassley got a standing ovation from the crowd when he talked about keeping “a finger in the dike” to block President Obama’s nominee, so the next president can fill the vacancy on the court.
“There’s apt to be two or three more vacancies on the Supreme Court,” Grassley said, “so let’s take advantage seriously, so we’ve got a Supreme Court that is going to protect our constitution.”
Trump pledged to protect Americans by pursuing the “consistent” application of the nation’s immigration laws.
“On day one, I’m going to begin swiftly removing criminal illegal elements from this country,” Trump said, to cheers.
AUDIO of Trump’s remarks, 47:00
Trump invited the family of Sarah Root on stage. Root is the 21-year-old college graduate from Council Bluffs who was killed in Omaha in January by a drunk driver who was in the country illegally. Michelle Root, her mother, was greeted with supportive applause.
“Thirty weeks ago we were watching our daughter walk across the stage to get her bachlors in criminal investigations, not to know that 15 hours later she would be killed by an illegal alien,” she said. “…Everything we do, all the fight we’re doing is to save the next person from having to go through what we’re going through.”
Root thanked Trump for his stand on the issue and concluded her remarks with two words: “Go Trump.”
The crowd cheered and many started chanting: “Go Trump.”
Members of Sarah Root’s family, including her father Scott, were among the motorcyclists who joined Ernst this morning at the fundraiser for a non-profit group that helps disabled veterans.
“Trump’s been the only one who’s been there for my family, along with all the other Republicans, so you help the people who are helping you,” Root said. “He wants to close that border up.”
Ernst, Grassley and the two Republican Senators from Nebraska are co-sponsoring a bill in congress that would require federal agents to take someone into custody if they are charged with a serious crime and have entered the country illegally.
More than 400 motorcyclists participated in the 42-mile ride through the countryside outside of metropolitan Des Moines. Motorcyclist Jay Naeve of Gilmore City voted for Trump in the Iowa Caucuses. Naeve said he jumped on board with Trump early in the campaign.
“Just as soon as he said: ‘Build the wall and bring back jobs,'” Naeve said. “That’s what we need.”
Virginia Stone of Waukee said Trump is “attracting a lot of dissatisfied” Americans who haven’t voted before.
“I think there’s a great current of people that aren’t actually coming out and saying they’re for Trump because they get tired of being called racists and Nazis, like Hillary’s doing right now,” Stone said. “I think it’s going to be a surprise on Election Day. I think he’s going to do a lot better than all the polls are showing.”
This was Trump’s fourth campaign event in Iowa since he formally accepted the Republican Party’s presidential nomination in July.
The chairwoman of the Iowa Democratic Party issued a written statement in response to today’s event. Andy McGuire criticized Iowa Republicans like Governor Branstad, Ernst, Grassley and the three Republican congressmen from Iowa who “choose to stand with Trump and continue to condone his divisive rhetoric and rationalize his unpredictable behavior.”