EXCLUSIVE – Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds of Iowa charges that former President Trump is “misleading” voters in her state.
“It’s misleading and it’s not fair to Iowans,” the governor said Monday night in an interview with Fox News Digital while referring to an ad the Trump campaign is running in the Hawkeye State that spotlights years-old clips of Reynolds praising the former president.
Reynolds endorsed Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in the race for the White House last month, and the two teamed up again in Bettendorf, Iowa, with four weeks to go until the state’s caucuses kick off the GOP presidential nominating calendar.
While Reynolds supported Trump during his 2016 and 2020 presidential campaigns, their relationship soured this past summer when the former president blasted Reynolds for staying neutral in the Republican nomination race – following a long-standing tradition of Iowa governors.
“He was upset with me because I was going to stay neutral at the beginning of the campaign for the first-in-the-nation caucus, which I did for seven months,” Reynolds said in her Fox News interview and in comments to the crowd minutes earlier.
Trump’s attacks on Reynolds intensified after she endorsed DeSantis.
“It’s not going to make any difference, because the only endorsement that matters is the Trump endorsement,” the former president claimed at a campaign event in Ankeny, Iowa, earlier this month.
Reynolds noted that after she backed DeSantis, Trump said her “endorsement didn’t mean anything” and called it “worthless,” adding that she was “the worst governor in the country.”
“That’s on one hand, and now we look at another hand – he’s using me in a commercial that dates back to 2016 and again [is] misleading Iowans as if I was endorsing him and going back and forth,” the governor added. “In 2016 and 2020 I supported President Trump. I endorsed him. I helped him in the state of Iowa. It’s a different day. It’s a different time.”
Pointing to Hawkeye State voters, Reynolds said “it’s OK for Iowans to say ‘thank you for what you did’ and move on. We need somebody that can win. We need somebody that can follow through on what they said they were going to do.”
Asked for a response, Trump campaign spokesman Steven Cheung asked Fox News, “is she saying that she lied to voters all those years?”
Trump remains the commanding front-runner in the race for the Republican nomination as he makes his third straight White House run.
He made history earlier this year as the first former or current president to be indicted for a crime with his four indictments, including in federal court in Washington, D.C., and in Fulton County court in Georgia on charges he tried to overturn the 2020 presidential election. The former president’s legal difficulties have only boosted his support among Republican primary voters.
Trump holds an extremely formidable double-digit lead over DeSantis and the rest of the remaining field of 2024 nomination rivals in the latest polls in Iowa, but Reynolds remains optimistic.
Asked about the polls, she told Fox News “it can change.”
“The energy, the momentum, is with [DeSantis]. Iowans break late. So we’ve got a lot of time left,” she emphasized. “We’re going work hard to get him across the finish line.”
Fox News’ Clare O’Connor contributed to this report