Trump and DeSantis Attend Cy-Hawk Rivalry Game in Iowa

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis attended the Cy-Hawk rivalry football game between the University of Iowa and Iowa State University from the stands alongside Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds. Former President Donald Trump, who has insulted Reynolds in the past, also attended, tossing autographed footballs into a cheering crowd and watching the game from a private box.

The two politicians, both potential candidates for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination, are taking different approaches to the first-in-the-nation Republican caucuses in Iowa. Despite making relatively few visits to the state this year, Trump remains popular with a large following. In contrast, DeSantis, who is running second to Trump in the polls, is focusing on meeting voters and courting influencer support in an attempt to challenge Trump’s lead.

DeSantis has invested heavily in constant visits and field operations in hopes of closing the gap, which currently stands at more than 20 points in a recent poll. At the game, political trolling was evident, with a super PAC supporting DeSantis running an online ad targeting Trump for his stance on social issues. Additionally, a plane with a banner asking “Where’s Melania?” flew overhead, referencing the absence of Trump’s wife from the campaign trail.

DeSantis has campaigned alongside his wife and children, setting himself apart from Trump in terms of family values. However, it is unclear who organized the plane or the flyers, and DeSantis’ campaign has denied involvement. As the campaign intensifies, both Trump and DeSantis are expected to spend more time in Iowa.

At the Cy-Hawk game, some Republican caucusgoers expressed waning interest in DeSantis due to his controversial actions in Florida, such as his feud with Disney. Others, however, saw DeSantis as a stable alternative to the more erratic Trump. Former Arkansas governor Asa Hutchinson and North Dakota governor Doug Burgum, both potential 2024 contenders, were also present at the game.