Trump is outsourcing his Iowa campaign to surrogates — and his voters totally understand

MARION, Iowa — It’s crunch time in Iowa, and the odds-on favorite in next week’s Republican caucus, former President Donald Trump, can hardly be found.

The 77-year-old Trump has let prominent surrogates — such as his eldest son, Don Jr.; Arizona Republican Senate candidate Kari Lake; and former HUD Secretary Ben Carson — pick up the campaigning slack while he busies himself elsewhere, typically responding to the four pending criminal cases against him.

In fact, Trump has appeared at or scheduled just 25 events in Iowa between late March 2021 and Jan. 18, according to a tracker kept by the Des Moines Register.

By contrast, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley has done 85 events, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has done 140, and biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy has done 315.

Not that the former president’s supporters mind.

“It’s amazing to me how much he is doing with all the corruption and the attacks and the legal malarkey going on,” Jill Rowell, 60, told The Post at a faith event headlined by Carson at Grace Baptist Church here Thursday.

“He can only be in one place at one time,” agreed Julie Woolf, 56. “He’s got a lot of stuff tugging at him. And then he’s got a family death.”

Trump was in Iowa Wednesday night for a Fox News town hall but isn’t slated to be back until the weekend, when a flurry of four so-called “Commit to Caucus” events are scheduled — two on Saturday and two on Sunday.

On Tuesday, Trump was in Washington at a federal appeals court hearing, where his lawyers presented arguments to toss out his indictment on charges of unlawfully plotting to remain in office following his 2020 election defeat by Joe Biden.

That evening, former first lady Melania Trump announced the death of her mother, Amalija Knavs, at age 78.

On Thursday, the former president was in New York to attend closing arguments in his civil fraud trial. Trump briefly addressed the judge, saying he had done “nothing wrong” and was being “persecuted.”

Trump was never one for traditional politicking and famously hopscotched around the country on his prized Boeing 757 to hold blockbuster rallies during his 2016 White House campaign.

Now that he is a former president, Trump events require a higher level of logistical planning, including buy-in from the Secret Service.

And unlike in 2016, when Trump narrowly lost the caucus to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), polls show him leading his two nearest rivals by double-digits this time around — enabling him to pick and choose his campaign appearances while ducking each of the five debates held so far.

“I don’t want him bad-mouthing these people,” said Steve O’Connell, 75, referring to the other Republicans in the race. “Don’t waste your time bad-mouthing these people. This is a mistake. You are going to win, move forward.

“He’s already doing that and I’m very pleased with the direction he’s heading.”

Dale Manders, 64, agreed, asking of the debates: “Why should he waste is time doing that?”

By deploying a who’s who of surrogates, Trump has been able to reap the benefits of campaigning by proxy.

“[Trump] and I, philosophically, are very similar. Personality-wise, we’re very different,” Carson told reporters after Thursday’s event in Marion, two hours northeast of Des Moines.

“It would be nice, obviously, if he could be on the campaign trail. And you know from 2016, he’s a tireless campaigner,” Carson added. “That’s why they’re interfering with him, they’re interfering with elections.”


Written by SaleemBaloch

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