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Trump feuds with Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds

The former president is frustrated at what he sees as the Iowa governor's coziness with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, his GOP presidential rival.
President Donald Trump and Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds during a campaign rally at Drake University, on Jan. 30, 2020, in Des Moines.
President Donald Trump backed Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds in 2018 and 2022, and he's frustrated at what he perceives to be her support for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in the GOP presidential primary.Charlie Neibergall / AP file

Former President Donald Trump denounced Iowa Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds on Monday for declining to endorse a candidate in the still nascent GOP primary.

In a post on his Truth Social platform, Trump suggested that Reynolds is tacitly supporting former Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in the primary, even as she remains nominally neutral.

"I opened up the Governor position for Kim Reynolds, & when she fell behind I ENDORSED her, did big Rallies, & she won," Trump wrote.

"Now, she wants to remain 'NEUTRAL.' I don’t invite her to events! DeSanctus down 45 points!" he added, referring to DeSantis, his chief rival in the race to win the GOP's nomination for the White House.

Representatives for Reynolds and Trump did not immediately respond to separate requests for comment.

Iowa governors have long pledged to remain neutral throughout the state's closely watched presidential primary, declining to endorse candidates in their party. Reynolds has vowed to uphold that norm.

But Trump suggested in his post that Reynolds has been quietly favoring DeSantis, days after The New York Times, citing people close to Reynolds and DeSantis, reported that the two governors “forged a bond” at the height of the coronavirus pandemic and that one of Reynolds’ senior advisers, Ryan Koopmans, also advises the pro-DeSantis super PAC.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at an event with Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds on March 10, 2023, in Davenport, Iowa.
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds has appeared at several of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' visits to the state. Ron Johnson / AP file

The closeness of Reynolds and DeSantis "has been the subject of internal Trump campaign discussions," the Times reported.

Trump implied in his Truth Social post that he also believes Reynolds owes him more loyalty for his past endorsements.

At a campaign event in Iowa last month, Trump said Reynolds would not have won her races without him: "I hate to say it, without me, you know, she was not going to win, you know that, right?"

As the Times noted, Reynolds won 95 of Iowa's 99 counties.

DeSantis came to Reynolds' defense Monday evening and cited her victory last year.

On Twitter, DeSantis called Reynolds “a strong leader who knows how to ignore the chirping and get it done. She earned a landslide re-election because she delivered big results, and she is poised to deliver even more for Iowans in the special session.”

Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who is also running for the presidential nomination, tweeted a defense of Reynolds on Monday afternoon.

Reynolds also received praise from GOP presidential candidate Nikki Haley, who tweeted: "Governor Kim Reynolds is a conservative rockstar who has delivered for the people of her state. Like I always say, Iowa grows strong women!"

On Saturday, the GOP announced that it will hold its caucuses on Jan. 15. Trump, the front-runner, lost in Iowa in 2016, and both he and DeSantis see the race as key to gaining momentum for 2024.