Chants of “four more years!” filled the room Thursday morning at the new Pottawattamie County Republican Party headquarters.
Lara Trump entered the room to the chant before speaking to a crowd of about 60 people while in town campaigning for her father-in-law.
Trump, wife of Eric Trump, told the group President Donald Trump would win again, saying the atmosphere ahead of the 2020 election is similar to 2016.
“Even the day before the election, they told us it was impossible,” Trump said of 2016. “Guys, they’re trying to do it again. They always underestimate Donald Trump. Don’t believe the polls.”
In 2016, polls tightened ahead of Election Day, though the narrative in much of mainstream media didn’t reflect that. On Thursday, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden had a 7.5% lead in the Real Clear Politics polling average. The Five Thirty Eight election forecast currently gives Biden a 74 in 100 chance and Trump a 25 in 100 chance. The model simulates the election 40,000 times daily or more to determine its results.
Lara Trump told the crowd at the recently-opened headquarters on Main Street there is a “silent majority” that will propel Trump to reelection.
Reflecting on his presidency, she told the crowd Donald Trump doesn’t always do what’s expected of him as a Republican, but does what he thinks is best. He didn’t need to run for president four years ago, but wanted to help the country, she said.
“Donald Trump says, ‘I will do the right thing for the American people,’” Lara Trump said.
Trump praised her father-in-law for “ending endless wars.” The Trump Administration announced Wednesday the U.S. will pull thousands of troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan by November.
“Donald Trump knows better,” she said. “Let’s keep our troops safe.”
Domestically, Lara Trump said in January the U.S. had a robust economy before the “artificial interruption” of COVID-19.
“Isn’t it amazing, we won’t need masks, won’t need social distancing on Nov. 4?” Trump said about the day after the election to applause.
“They’re using that, too,” Trump said of Democrats.
The U.S. COVID-19 death toll was at more than 190,000 Thursday afternoon, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There have been more than 6.3 million cases. On its website, the CDC said it believes it’s likely that flu viruses and the virus that causes COVID-19 will both be spreading the fall and winter.
In a July webinar with the Journal of the American Medical Association, CDC Director Robert Redfield said he thinks, “the fall and the winter of 2020 and 2021 are going to be probably one of the most difficult times that we’ve experienced in American public health.”
After her speech, Lara Trump said COVID-19 has been politicized.
“There have been a lot of fear tactics used by the mainstream media, by the Democrats,” she said, criticizing, as an example, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for using a hair salon without a mask. “It seems very hypocritical. I think people wonder, are we doing this to keep us safe or are we doing it because there’s a political advantage to be gained by the Democrats?”
The CDC and other health and infectious disease organizations and experts have said masks and social distancing efforts help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Trump said, “Of course we’re going to take seriously, of course we’re going to do the right thing,” noting steps taken by the president to mitigate the disease, including fast-tracking a vaccine (Operation Warp Speed), following medical advice and also looking out for economic health through the Paycheck Protection Program and other programs.
“We’re so lucky we had Donald Trump, had the great economy, going into the COVID pandemic,” she said.
In her speech, Trump criticized Biden as a “leftist” who is being led by socialist factions of the Democratic Party, calling the Biden-Sen. Kamala Harris ticket the most radical in history. Calling him “Sleepy Joe,” Trump called the candidate a Trojan horse for a radical agenda.
Trump said Biden hasn’t issued a list of potential Supreme Court nominees because he’s afraid voters won’t like who’s on the list. On Wednesday, Donald Trump announced additions to his shortlist, including Sens. Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Ted Cruz of Texas and Josh Hawley of Missouri. The Hill reported in late June that Biden appeared likely to release a list of potential nominees, but he has not yet done so.
The crowd Thursday was made up by about half, if not more, of women. Lara Trump noted that, saying, “and they say women shouldn’t vote for Donald Trump” to a laugh and a cheer.
“Who did Joe pick? A woman,” Trump said of Harris. “Not the best person for the job.”
Trump’s stop was in part a get-out-the-vote effort. She encouraged people to get involved, helping register people to vote. After the speech, she praised the campaign’s ground game for work knocking on doors — “safely, of course,” making phone calls and otherwise supporting the effort during a pandemic.
Trump told the crowd to get out and vote while decrying universal mail-in voting — a frequent target of the president, despite little evidence of widespread fraud in the five states that hold elections almost entirely by mail. She drew a distinction with absentee voting, which requires voters to request a ballot.
“We need to win by such a margin they can’t try to take it from us,” Trump said. “We’ll show fair and square Donald Trump won.”
Trump spoke for about 30 minutes before moving on to a stop in Omaha Thursday afternoon. She was scheduled to take part in an evening campaign event in Minneapolis.
In response to Trump's visit, Iowa Democratic Party Chair Mark Smith said the event in Council Bluffs, "can’t cover up Trump’s failed leadership that has led to more than 70,000 reported coronavirus cases in Iowa."
"The Trump campaign needs to stop the empty self-congratulations and start offering answers to the 76,000 Iowans who have lost their job because of Trump’s mishandling of the pandemic," Smith said.
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