DES MOINES — President Trump on Wednesday sought to shore up support from constituencies that not so long ago he thought he had in the bag: big business and voters in the red state of Iowa.
In a morning address to business leaders, he expressed puzzlement that they would even consider supporting his Democratic challenger, Joe Biden, arguing that his own leadership was a better bet for a strong economy. Later, the president held his third campaign rally in three nights, this time in Iowa, a state he won handily in 2016 but where Biden is making a late push.
Trump claimed to be leading in the most recent poll he saw. “For me to only be up six, I’m a little bit concerned,” he asserted. Multiple polls have shown a much closer race.
Speaking to supporters in Iowa on Wednesday, Trump got some of his biggest cheers when he brought up Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
He joked, “Please promise me, Amy, you’ll never run.”
Trump calls Barrett a “great intellect” who is deftly handling the questioning she is getting, particularly from Democrats, and “she handles it like nothing.”
Trump added, “I just want to say we made the right choice with Amy.”
Biden, for his part, held a virtual fund-raiser from Wilmington, Delaware, and delivered pretaped remarks to American Muslims. He did not have any public campaign events, unusual for just 20 days out from Election Day.
The Democratic nominee said that Trump was trying to rush through Barrett, his nominee for the Supreme Court, to help his efforts to repeal the Obama health care law, calling that “an abuse of power.”
Trump used his economic address Wednesday to play up his administration’s commitment to lowering taxes and deregulation of industry, and he didn’t hide his frustration with signs that some in the business community are tilting to Biden.
“I know I’m speaking to some Democrats, and some of you are friends of mine,” Trump said in a virtual address to the Economic Clubs of New York, Florida, Washington, D.C., Chicago, Pittsburgh, and Sheboygan, Wis. Should Biden be elected, he continued, “You will see things happen that will not make you happy. I don’t understand your thinking.”
The former vice president has collected more than $50 million in campaign contributions from donors in the securities and investment sectors, according to the private nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.
After being sidelined by the coronavirus, Trump resumed a breakneck schedule this week, with aides saying he is expected to travel and host campaign rallies every day through Nov. 3.
His trip to Iowa comes as the state this week surpassed 100,000 coronavirus cases and has seen a recent surge in hospitalizations. The number of people being treated in Iowa hospitals for COVID-19 reached a new high Wednesday of 473 people.
A public health emergency declared by Iowa Republican Governor Kim Reynolds in March remains in place and requires that organizers of mass gatherings “must ensure at least 6 feet (1.8 meters) of physical distance between each group or individual attending alone.”
Trump acknowledged Reynolds’ presence at the rally. “Thank you, honey,” he said.