Critical GOP Influencers Ignore Trump Phone Calls As Campaign Flops

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New reporting adds Iowa to the list of states where Donald Trump is somewhat struggling to get his campaign for the GOP presidential nomination for 2024 off the ground.

According to Bloomberg, Sen. Chuck Grassley and Governor Kim Reynolds, both Republican officials in Iowa, “didn’t answer when he telephoned recently.” Grassley, Reynolds, and other Republican officials including the state’s other U.S. Senator, Joni Ernst, are also resisting the prospect of endorsing Trump’s presidential bid, at least at this stage, with primary elections not actually happening until early next year. Trump is also seeing some hurdles with political staffing, Bloomberg notes. Eric Branstad, the son of a former GOP governor in Iowa, might be soon departing a role with the Trump fundraising group known as the Save America PAC, according to the publication’s recounting of what sources said.

It looks like Eric, who served as a state director for the Trump campaign in Iowa in 2016, would be entering the private sector instead. Even Matthew Whitaker, who temporarily served as acting U.S. Attorney General during the Trump era, which was often marked by rapid turnover in high-profile roles, isn’t endorsing Trump’s 2024 bid yet. (Whitaker hails from Iowa and used to serve as a U.S. Attorney in the state.) He’s apparently talking about being open to other candidates like Florida GOP Governor Ron DeSantis, who hasn’t announced a candidacy but seems like he would have far and away the best shot at launching a successful upset bid in the 2024 Republican primaries.

That would, of course, threaten to bring DeSantis’s policies to the national level. His record features a troubling list from restrictions on abortion to strict legal limits on teaching basic concepts like white privilege, Black history, and the basic realities of existence in an identity other than straight and cis, even — at least in certain cases — in workplaces.

Trump has also seen some hurdles in South Carolina, where he is heading — along with New Hampshire, another state that’s prominent in the presidential nomination process — this weekend in some of the first public appearances actually promoting the presidential campaign he confirmed some time ago. The GOP governor there is supporting him, as is Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), but multiple state legislators declined a push to attend his event there for whatever reason, and one spoke about the situation to The Washington Post. “The Trump campaign is trying to consolidate support,” a Republican state legislator in South Carolina said. “But I don’t think it is going to be as quick as they think… Right now my constituency is as excited about Ron DeSantis as Donald Trump, if not more.” Elsewhere, President Joe Biden remains intent on running for re-election, at which point he’ll face whichever of these figures Republicans pick.