Former President Donald Trump on Wednesday rallied supporters at a campaign event in Maquoketa, Iowa, telling the crowd that the state’s Republican caucus primary will feature the “most important vote of your lives.”
The former president has frequently visited the Hawkeye State during his run for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination. Iowa voters are scheduled to head to the polls on January 15 to select their choice for the next Republican candidate, and according to the latest poll data compiled by Real Clear Politics, Trump leads the state above his next closest challenger, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, by over 30 points on average.
“Less than four months from now, each of you is going to cast the most important vote of your lives,” Trump told supporters as he opened up his speech at the Jackson County Fairgrounds. “It’s going to be the most important election of all of our lives, because our country is going to hell.”
Trump’s address was full of his traditional attacks against his biggest rivals, referring to the Florida governor as “Ron DeSanctus” and repeatedly condemning President Joe Biden’s time in office. He also promised voters to “bring our country back” and praised his own administration’s agenda on issues like immigration and economic policy.
“Here’s what I’ll do in our second term, our second term because it’s us together,” the former president said to a round of applause from the crowd. “It’s the greatest movement in the history of our country, and probably any country, and if we do this, it’ll be written about for hundreds of years.”
Trump Brings Back ‘The Snake’
In a familiar move, the former president used one of his favorite metaphors for describing the dangers of loose immigration polices—a reciting of the 1968 song “The Snake.”
The song, written by Black singer and civil rights activist Oscar Brown Jr., tells the story of a “tender-hearted woman” who finds a “poor half-frozen snake” and takes it in. After the snake is “revived,” “instead of saying thanks, that snake gave her a vicious bite,” reads the lyrics.
“It’s so accurate,” Trump told the crowd as he warmed up to recite the song, which was written on a piece of paper that he kept in his pocket. “But it’s not a snake, it’s people that we’re allowing into our country. Many criminals, people from jails, from mental institutions, terrorists.”
Brown’s daughter, Maggie, told CNN in 2018 that the former president has gotten the meaning of “The Snake” “absolutely wrong,” adding, “The elephant in the room is that Trump is the living embodiment of the snake that my father wrote about in that song.” Trump repeatedly used the song lyrics during his 2016 campaign to laud his hardline policy on immigration.
Trump Again Says That EVs Are a Death Knell for the Auto Industry
Among the list of “incompetent” Biden policies that Trump attacked Wednesday included the White House’s plan to adopt new emissions rules and push for electric vehicles (EVs) in the country.
“To save Iowa farmers and Iowa ethanol, I will cancel Joe Biden’s preposterous electric vehicle mandate,” Trump told a roaring crowd.
“Isn’t it ridiculous? The electric car’s fine. But if you want an electric car, you get one,” the former president continued. “Now they’re doing it with trucks, they want all trucks to be all electric … The trucking businesses are all gonna go out of business.”
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed new emissions rules in May that would require 67 percent of all vehicles sold in the U.S. to be electric by 2032. Some critics have said that the standards are unrealistic, and no finalized emissions rules have been adopted.
Trump has said before that a push toward EVs could upset the U.S. automobile industry, which is in a standstill as the United Auto Workers (UAW) union pushes forward with its strike against the “Big Three” automakers in the country. Prior to the strike, the former president claimed over Truth Social that Biden’s “all electric car hoax” would hurt the UAW because “China will build them all.”
Trump: GOP Needs to ‘Properly Talk About Abortion’
The former president also offered a little guidance to his fellow party members Wednesday, warning that the GOP risks losing again in 2024 if candidates continue to take a hard stance on the issue of abortion.
“In order to win in 2024, Republicans must learn how to properly talk about abortion,” Trump told the crowd.
“This issue cost us unnecessarily, but dearly, in the midterms,” he added. “We have to expose the Democrats like crooked Joe Biden and [Vice President] Kamala Harris … They’re the radicals on the abortion issue, and you have to say that.”
Women’s rights and abortion access was among voters’ top issues heading into the 2022 election following the overturning of Roe v. Wade the summer before. Trump previously declared himself the “most pro-life president” in U.S. history, but has recently been encouraging the GOP to change its tactics on the issue, as many Republican-led states have enacted anti-abortion laws since the federal right to an abortion was revoked.
“Now with Roe v. Wade no longer … the power to negotiate is with the pro-life movement, not the radical left Democrats who are so willing to destroy life,” Trump said Wednesday.
Newsweek emailed Trump’s campaign for comment on Wednesday’s rally.