Former President Donald Trump travels to Iowa on Wednesday as he turns up the volume on his campaign in the state whose caucuses lead off the GOP presidential nominating calendar.
But Trump returns to Iowa in the wake of controversial abortions comments he made this past weekend that sparked outrage among some in the social conservative community in a state where Evangelical voters play an outsized role in the Republican presidential caucuses.
Trump, who for months has been the commanding front-runner in the 2024 Republican race, is gunning to take down Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who’s relentlessly criss-crossed Iowa this summer as he tries to shave points off of Trump’s enormous double-digit lead in the Hawkeye State.
With less than four months to go until the Iowa caucuses, the former president will hold a “Team Trump Caucus Commitment” organizing event with campaign volunteers at the Jackson County Fairgrounds in Maquoketa. Later, he’ll give policy remarks at the Grand River Conference Center in Dubuque in front of what his campaign estimates will be a crowd of up to 2,500 people.
Nicole Schlinger, a veteran Iowa-based conservative operative and strategist who is well-connected with evangelical groups, told Fox News that Trump “was the most pro-life president in our lifetime. He gave us the justices that gave us Dobbs, and we’re grateful for that.”
But she added “what he does next matters and negotiating weeks of human life with Democrats does not seem like what Evangelical caucus goers wanted when they asked for those justices.”
“It remains to be seen but this could be one of those moments where we say the tide turned,” Schlinger predicted. “I think it could and it should motivate Evangelical caucus goers to take a second look. I think the door’s open for another candidate, but it’s up to someone to walk through it.”
Paul Steinhauser is a politics reporter based in New Hampshire.