Trump cancels Iowa rally over tornado threat, asks supporters to seek shelter

Donald Trump was forced to cancel his scheduled Saturday night rally in Iowa due to expected severe weather and the threat of a tornado.

By mid-afternoon, a tornado watch was in effect from the east side of the state to the west side with De Moines in the center.

At 3:30 pm ET, the former president posted on Truth Social: “Iowa Tornado Watch. For the safety of our great Patriots, we have been asked to delay or cancel today’s sold-out Rally.”

He added: “I am near the Palm Beach airport, ready to go, but we are on hold due to bad weather in Iowa. Please find shelter or safe haven!”

Trump’s next post, 15 minutes later, read: “Unfortunately, due to tornado warnings in Des Moines, we are forced to cancel today’s outdoor rally at Lauridsen Amphitheater. Stay tuned, we will reschedule soon. Take care out there!”

The former president was due to share the spotlight with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in Iowa on Saturday, providing an opportunity to sway influential conservative activists and contrast their campaign styles in the initial Republican voting state.

DeSantis, who is expected to announce his 2024 presidential campaign any day now, will dive into Iowa toe-to-toe politicking at an annual congressional picnic and an Iowa GOP fundraiser, while Trump, the candidate since November , expected to show strength. with an outdoor rally with supporters.

Though the two men will be hours apart, the split-screen moment in Iowa is the first for the two national Republican powerhouses. It’s an early preview of a matchup between the former president, well ahead of his party rivals in early national polls, and DeSantis, who is widely seen as his strongest potential rival.

It will be DeSantis’ first trip to the initial proving ground since the Florida legislature adjourned last week after spending months handing the governor a conservative agenda he is expected to promote once he announces his campaign.

Meanwhile, Trump will return to the comfort of the campaign stage after a tumultuous week. On Tuesday, a civil jury in New York found him liable for sexually abusing and defaming advice columnist E Jean Carroll and awarded her $5 million.

A day later, during a controversial CNN town hall, he repeatedly insulted Ms. Carroll, reaffirmed lies about his 2020 election loss, and downplayed the violence at the US Capitol on January 6, 2021.

Associated Press contributed to this report

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