Harriet Hageman. (RI photo)

Comments from key Iowa Republicans make it clear a prominent GOP critic of former President Donald Trump faces a tough campaign in Iowa’s 2024 Caucuses if she runs for president as a Republican.

Harriet Hageman, the Republican who defeated Wyoming Congresswoman Liz Cheney in an August Primary, was the keynote speaker at a Polk County GOP fundraiser tonight. Iowa G-O-P chairman Jeff Kaufmann, the evening’s emcee, called Cheney “a poor loser.”

“What happened in Wyoming was pure grassroots…and it was versus the D.C. swamp…The grassroots absolutely kicked it out of the ballpark,” Kaufmann said, to cheers. “…It’s really kind of sad to see someone that is part of a team and forgets they’re part of that team if things don’t go their way.”

Kaufmann ridiculed those who’ve praised Cheney for her role on the committee investigating Trump’s actions as the U.S. Capitol was being attacked as well as those who lamented her primary loss.

“When I heard all of the comments afterwards and the sadness and the wondering and the comparison to Abraham Lincoln — really? Really? We’re not going there, are we?” Kaufmann asked the crowd rhetorically.

Former Governor Terry Branstad, appointed by Trump to be U.S. Ambassador to China, suggested siding with Trump has been a winning formula for Iowa Republicans.

“You know, we went through that in 2016. (In) a lot of other states, Republicans got divided. Not here! Not here,” Branstad said. “We all pulled together. We carried the state for Trump and we picked up a bunch of seats and, you know, he’s continued to do that.”

State Senator Brad Zaun of Urbandale was the first Iowa elected official to endorse Trump in 2015 and he praised Hageman for defeating Cheney. “We were watching that night and we are so proud of you,” Zaun said. “Thank you! Thank you! Thank you for winning that election.”

Republicans make up a sizable majority of voters in Wyoming and Hageman is virtually assured of winning Wyoming’s only seat in the U.S. House next month.

“We have to be sending people to Washington, D.C. who are not going to be cowed by the people who have been there forever who say: ‘No, this is the way we do it,'” Hageman said.

Hageman will campaign with Iowa Republicans in Ottumwa, Cedar Rapids and Bettendorf tomorrow.