President Donald Trump on Wednesday sought to shore up support from constituencies that not so long ago he thought he had in the bag: big business and voters in the red state of Iowa.
Watch the president’s remarks in the player above.
“I’m thrilled to be back in the American heartland with thousands of loyal, hardworking Iowa patriots,” Trump said as he was campaigning Wednesday evening in Iowa, a state he won handily in 2016 but where his opponent Democrat Joe Biden is making a late push.
After being sidelined by the coronavirus, Trump has resumed a breakneck schedule this week, with travel and campaign rallies every day. Trump has appeared hale in his public appearances since reemerging from quarantine.
His trip to Iowa comes as the state this week surpassed 100,000 coronavirus cases and has seen a recent surge in hospitalizations. The number of people being treated in Iowa hospitals for COVID-19 reached a new high Wednesday of 473 people, and there’s no sign of slowing as the number of people admitted in the past 24 hours was third highest.
Trump had an extra treat in mind for Iowa voters, drawing on one of the perquisites of his office: Ahead of his visit, Trump said he would be awarding the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Iowa wrestling legend Dan Gable. The former University of Iowa coach won 15 NCAA team championships from 1976 to 1997..
During his remarks, the president put on a baseball cap and took off his tie, joking “now we can relax and have a good time.”
Trump’s return to Iowa comes as he has been forced into playing defense following a widely panned debate performance and his own coronavirus diagnosis. Republicans have raised alarm that enthusiasm among Trump’s base has waned slightly after the one-two punch of those events, casting his reelection into doubt.