DeSantis warns against this quotloser culturequot Republicans.webp

DeSantis warns against this "loser culture" Republicans

SIOUX CENTER, Iowa (AP) — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Saturday warned of a Republican “loser culture” and sought to undermine former President Donald Trump’s figure in the GOP by courting voters in the crucial state of Iowa.

DeSantis, who is scheduled to announce his campaign for the 2024 presidential election every day, briefly flipped hamburger meat and pork chops during an outdoor fundraiser at the Sioux Center that drew hundreds of conservatives to the state’s far northwest. On the podium, he emphasized his willingness to confront conservative culture wars and indirectly criticized Trump.

“Government is not about entertaining. Governance isn’t about building a brand or posting on social media and emphasizing virtues,” said DeSantis, who wore a blue shirt with no tie or jacket. “Ultimately, it’s about winning and delivering results.”

Trump, the Republican Party’s presidential candidate since November, had planned to show his political might later with a large open-air rally in Des Moines, the state capital, but canceled the event due to a tornado warning.

Voters across the state are weighing DeSantis and Trump, two leading Republican figures who are among a half-dozen party candidates who have announced or are expected to announce their candidacy soon. Trump is well ahead of his rivals in preliminary polls, while DeSantis is widely seen as the strongest potential challenger.

Trump had hoped to return to the comfort of the presidential campaign phase after a turbulent week.

On Tuesday, a New York civil court found him guilty of sexually abusing and defaming columnist E. Jean Carroll and ordered him to pay her $5 million. A day later, during a controversial public debate on CNN, he repeatedly insulted Carroll, reiterated lies about his 2020 election defeat, and downplayed the violence during the Jan. 6, 2021, storming of the Capitol.

DeSantis has built his reputation as a right-wing governor willing to campaign vigorously for conservative politics and even start a political dispute with Disney Corporation, which he highlighted at the Sioux Center. So far, however, he hasn’t shown the same enthusiasm for confronting Trump, who for months has focused almost exclusively on criticizing DeSantis.


Price reported from Des Moines, Iowa. Associate Press writer Steve Peoples in New York contributed to this report.