DES MOINES, Iowa – Impeachment hasn't made a lick of difference to Scott Whiton. He's still in President Trump's corner.
“I support the man and what he’s doing,” the Perry, Iowa, resident told Fox News as he was waiting in line to get into the Republican president’s rally Thursday night at Drake University in Des Moines. “He’s fighting for us and that’s big.”
Whiton remains optimistic Trump will win reelection and actually cited the ongoing Senate impeachment trial of the president as a political plus — despite Democrats' hopes of using those proceedings to stain the president from now through November.
“I think the Democrats are shooting themselves in the foot with all this impeachment crap going on,” he said.
Democrats stress that even if he’s acquitted by the Republican majority in the Senate – which appears all but certain – the president will be tarnished by the mark of impeachment. (Impeachment is "forever," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi likes to say.)
But Trump’s supporters disagree, feeling the impeachment inquiry and trial will come back to bite the Democrats in November’s general election.
'I think the Democrats are shooting themselves in the foot.'
Brandon Point of Humboldt, Iowa, argued that impeachment “is going to backfire on the Democrats real good.”
Aaron Creger of Des Moines said that impeachment “helps [Trump] because everyone realizes it’s just the left’s agenda to try to bring up something to distract… everybody’s seeing it’s just a big scam.”
Pamela Klein of Norwalk, Iowa, predicted it would be Trump in “2020 for sure. No doubt.” She emphasized that impeachment “helps him.”
And Ronnie Drake said that "more people are supporting him every day" due to impeachment, which she called an attempted "coup."
The president made the same case inside the arena at Drake University, highlighting again in an exclusive interview with Fox News’ Peter Doocy that the impeachment trial is “ a hoax. It should have never taken place. It should never been allowed to happen.”
Trump is accused of withholding aid to Ukraine as leverage to extract an investigation led by that country into Democrats including 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden and his family. He denies it, but former national security adviser John Bolton reportedly has alleged, in his forthcoming book, that the president indeed linked the aid and the investigations. As of Friday, it does not appear Democrats have the votes to summon Bolton or other witnesses before the Senate, meaning the trial could be over in a matter of days.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer alleged Friday that Republicans were on the verge of participating in the “greatest cover-up since Watergate.”
Trump was joined at his Thursday night rally by Vice President Pence — as more than 80 members of the administration, Republican lawmakers and officials and top members of his reelection team fanned out across Iowa in support of the president. The full-court press was a move by Trump’s team to energize Republican voter turnout at the caucuses as well as grab a share of the national media’s spotlight with just four days to go until the caucuses kick off the presidential nominating calendar, with attention mostly on the Democratic race.
Iowa could play an influential role in the outcome of November’s general election. It was narrowly carried by the Democrats in the 2000 election and then by Republicans in 2004. But then-Sen. Barack Obama captured it by 10 percentage points in the 2008 election and 6 points in his 2012 presidential reelection. Trump won Iowa by nearly 10 points four years ago.
Pointing to a poll released last weekend by The New York Times and Siena College that indicated him topping all the top contenders for the Democratic nomination in hypothetical general election matchups, Trump told Fox News: “I think we’re doing very well in Iowa. You saw the polls. I’m beating every single one of them.”
In the interview with Doocy, the president touted that “Iowa is doing better than they’ve ever done. And now, they’re really going to start to do well because of the new trade deals that we have.”
Trump told the crowd inside the arena that due to the trade deals they're going to "make a lot of money.”
And his message to the farmers in the audience was, “You’re going to have to get bigger tractors and a hell of a lot more land.”
But he warned that “If we don’t win, your farms are going to hell.”
Outside the arena ahead of the rally, Creger predicted that Trump will “take Iowa easily… everybody that I know that supported him four years ago still is on his side. I don’t have anybody that I know who’s changed their stance, so that’s why I’m confident.”
Grant Kuehnast also felt strongly that the president would win a second term in the White House. The Humboldt, Iowa, resident said he liked Trump’s “message four years ago,” adding that as president “he’s delivered on most of the promises he’s made, so I can respect that.”
Tim Curnyn of Dennison emphasized that “Iowa is still going to go for the president and the Republicans.”
And joining others in the crowd who spoke with Fox News, he said the impeachment saga would motivate Trump’s base.
“It helps him as he runs for reelection because people are pretty upset about it and it makes him more fired up and gives us more of a drive to win,” Curnyn stressed.