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Republican candidates try to lock down undecided Iowans in bond-chilling cold

Marco Rubio endorses Trump, who returned to campaign trail
Posted at 3:10 PM, Jan 14, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-14 17:48:47-05

With just one day to go until Iowa's presidential caucuses, the candidates are urging their supporters to brave bone-chilling cold and blustery wind to help carry them through Republicans' leadoff voting contest.

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks during a Fox News Channel town hall in Des Moines, Iowa, Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2024. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

National Politics

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Former President Donald Trump, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley fanned out across Iowa on Sunday to meet with voters. Already, Haley was forced to cancel an in-person stop because of poor weather conditions.

Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida has become the 24th Republican senator to endorse Trump for president.

Rubio’s endorsement on Sunday means the two U.S. senators from Florida are now firmly behind Trump instead of DeSantis, their home-state governor. Trump is now one Republican senator short of securing the majority support of the GOP senators.

"I support Trump because that kind of leadership is the ONLY way we will get the extraordinary actions needed to fix the disaster Biden has created," he said on X, formerly known as Twitter. "It’s time to get on with the work of beating Biden & saving America!"

The endorsement of Trump is a bit of a surprise, given that Haley endorsed Rubio when he was running in the 2016 Republican presidential campaign. Rubio dropped out of that race after losing Florida.

Trump campaign

Former President Donald Trump speaks to volunteers at Hotel Fort Des Moines in Des Moines, Iowa, on Sunday.
Former President Donald Trump speaks to volunteers at Hotel Fort Des Moines in Des Moines, Iowa, on Sunday.

Trump’s rally in Indianola was briefly interrupted by protesters — the first time it's happened in years.

"You’ve taken millions!" a woman shouted as Trump was mid-rally, prompting the crowd to respond with a "Trump!”" chant to drown her out.

"Go back to Mommy,” Trump responded as she was led out of the room. "So young and immature"

Moments later came another protester, this one holding a black and yellow banner that read "Trump Climate Criminal."He shouted the same thing. The same group interrupted a DeSantis town hall and a separate event for the Florida governor in Ames last week.

When he was running in 2016, Trump’s events were routinely interrupted by protesters.

"That used to happen all the time," Trump remarked. "t always adds excitement."

Trump sounded a message of vengeance at his only Iowa rally this weekend.

"These caucuses are your personal chance to score the ultimate victory over all of the liars, cheaters, thugs, perverts, frauds, crooks, freaks, creeps and other quite nice people," said at a commit-to-caucus event in Indianola.

"The Washington swamp has done everything in its power to take away your voice," Trump added. "But tomorrow is your time to turn on them and to say and speak your mind and to vote. And we’re going to take this country back."

In Waukee, Trump dropped by a Casey's convenience store to pick up pizzas after his Indianola rally.

“The best you’ll ever have,” said a Casey’s worker as he handed over the food.

Trump then made another stop to deliver the pizzas to members of the Waukee Fire Department. He handed the stack of boxes out down the line of those assembled and chatted about their trucks and their work.

Trump then asked for a slice of his own.

"Good luck, everybody," he said before taking a bite and continuing to chat as he ate. "This is good pizza, by the way,” he said.

DeSantis campaign

Ron DeSantis
Kim Reynolds
Casey DeSantis
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis takes the microphone after being introduced at an event in West Des Moines, Iowa, Saturday.

DeSantis was bundled up at a campaign event in Cedar Rapids on Sunday, days after he left his coat at home in the Sunshine State when he was there delivering his State of the State address Tuesday.

"This is my winter coat. I have not worn this since I’ve been governor once," DeSantis said in Iowa.

He told a crowd at a construction contractors convention in Des Moines on Wednesday that his staff was hustling his coat from Tallahassee.

Freezing in Iowa? This voter is still wearing shorts

Mark Calhoun, who wears shorts every day of the year, is a 61-year-old fan of DeSantis (and the Dallas Cowboys). He ventured out in subzero temperatures Sunday — with bare legs — to see the candidate in Dubuque.

“He’s what we need,” Calhoun said.

The coldest caucus temperatures won’t keep him away Monday.

Haley campaign

Republican presidential candidate former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley speaks during a campaign event at Jethro's BBQ in Ames, Iowa, Sunday, Jan. 14, 2024. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley speaks during a campaign event at Jethro's BBQ in Ames, Iowa, on Sunday.

Haley’s campaign stop in Dubuque was canceled Sunday morning because of poor travel conditions, the campaign said about an hour before the scheduled event.

Haley swapped the in-person event with a virtual town hall.

Speaking to a room packed full of Iowans and out-of-state volunteers in Ames, Haley gave an abbreviated version of her campaign speech, drawing frequent cheers from the pink necklace and boa-clad "Women for Nikki" volunteers.

"It’s been 11 months, and it comes down to tomorrow," Haley said of Monday’s caucuses, repeating her frequent call to GOP voters to elect her as a “new generational leader that leaves the negativity and the baggage behind and focuses on the solutions of the future.”

Haley was introduced by Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst, who hasn’t endorsed a candidate in the 2024 campaign but said the former South Carolina governor is "inspiring so many people across the state of Iowa, inspiring them so much to get out and support her in the caucuses, support her in this quest for the nomination of the Republican Party for our president of the United States."


Former Republican presidential candidate Doug Burgum is endorsing Trump for president.

"Four years ago, I was speaking on behalf of President Trump at the Iowa caucuses in Sioux City. And today I’m here to do something that none of the other presidential primary candidates have done, and that’s endorse Donald J. Trump for the president of the United States of America" the North Dakota governor said, appearing with Trump at a rally in Indianola.

Burgum, who ended his own campaign last month, said he'd had a "front-row seat," both as a business leader and a governor, to see what Trump can do.

Former Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, who was being eyed for a possible third-party bid for the White House, endorsed Haley on Sunday.