President Trump took plenty of shots at Democrats at a raucous political rally in Council Bluffs, Iowa on Oct. 9. But a gift for farmers on ethanol was the most noteworthy news to come out of the event.
It was to be expected that Trump would lash out at particular Democrats in the wake of the bitter battle to confirm Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanuagh and the president did not disappoint. His mocking of Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California spurred one of the most impassioned audience responses of the evening.
“How about Sen. Feinstein? That’s another beauty. That’s a beauty,” Trump said. He was referencing Feinstein’s role in the leaking of Christine Ford Blasey’s letter accusing Kavanaugh of sexually abusing her. “Did you leak the documents? Did we leak? Did we leak? Noooo,” Trump said, waving his hands around. The crowd reacted by aiming a “Lock Her Up!” chant at Feinstein.
Crowd breaks into cheers of “Lock her up” as Pres. Trump rails against Sen. Dianne Feinstein at Iowa rally, mocking her denial of leaking Christine Blasey Ford’s letter. https://t.co/JdoY7807Al pic.twitter.com/e7ihZYR2vn
— ABC News (@ABC) October 10, 2018
Trump denounced Democrats as a whole as “a national disgrace” for their ugly campaign against Kavanaugh. “They want to destroy everything,” he said. “That’s all their good at. What the Democrats did to Brett and his beautiful family is a national embarrassment and a national disgrace.”
While speaking at an Iowa rally, following swearing-in ceremony of Justice Kavanaugh, President Trump says anti-Kavanaugh protesters were paid:
— NBC News (@NBCNews) October 9, 2018
Trump also belittled the potential Democratic field for the 2020 presidency, focusing once again on one of his favorite targets, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and her disputed Native American heritage. Calling her “Pocahontas,” as he usually does, Trump said he hopes Warren runs against him. “Then we can finally get down to the fact as to whether or not she has Indian blood.”
Beyond the red meat, however, was a display of practical politics on the local level. Trump announced he was directing the Environmental Protection Agency to lift summer restrictions on the use of E15 gasoline, which contains up to 15 percent ethanol. The move is a boost for corn farmers in Iowa and the timing of the announcement is squarely aimed at helping local GOP candidates at the ballot box in November.
Trump brought Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds and Rep. David Young onto the stage and promoted Nebraska Republican Reps. Don Bacon and Jeff Fortenberry as well. There were numerous Nebraskans among the crowd at the Mid-America Center.
Emily Skor, CEO of Growth Energy, an ethanol advocacy group, told the Des Moines Register that raising the use of higher ethanol-gasoline blends could increase the use of corn by 2 billion bushels. Roughly half of the corn grown in Iowa is produced for ethanol manufacturing and livestock feed, not human consumption, the Register reports.
Trump’s directive is “wonderful for the American farmer,” Skor said. “It’s great for biofuels producers. And it’s great for the American consumer, so we’re thrilled.”
Not so thrilled is the oil industry, which immediately announced it is planning a lawsuit against the move. “The President’s proposal to waive the rules for E15 is unlawful and could actually make the problems of the Renewable Fuel Standard worse,” said Chet Thompson, president and CEO of the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers, in a statement.
“The only certainty from today’s actions is a lawsuit,” Thompson also told Reuters.
In all respects, however, the rally was vintage campaign-mode Trump.
Tracy Zeorian, 56, of Manley, Nebraska, explained to the Omaha World-Herald what the event meant to her. Telling the paper that Democrats can’t grasp that women who support the president are not betraying their gender, Zeorian says she felt a strong sense of national togetherness at the rally.
“It was nice to see beyond the division you see on TV, that the country can be united,” she said. “I know it was a mostly Republican crowd, but it’s important to see.”