There was no shortage of heckling and trolling in Iowa amid Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ visit to the state.
During his first stop, opponents shouted: “Go back to Florida” and “Go back to Florida, pudding fingers.”
And elsewhere in air, a plane could be seen flying a banner that read, “Be Likable, Ron!”
The quip is a reference to advice DeSantis was given by then-ally Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) during his 2018 gubernatorial campaign.
The Republican presidential hopeful was in Iowa to participate in a one-on-one interview with Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) on Saturday.
The interview was disrupted by protesters—who DeSantis later called “radical left”—blowing whistles and ringing bells.
The protesters—who DeSantis later called “radical left”—blew whistles and rang bells during the interview.
Reynolds tried to intervene, saying: “Hey, you know what, you know what? We’re in Iowa. And in Iowa, we’re Iowa nice. So, let’s give everybody the opportunity to hear our candidates.”
According to NBC News, two of DeSantis’ opponents—Nikki Haley and Vivek Ramaswamy—spoke with Reynolds ahead of him and neither faced any heckling.
But it wasn’t just “radical left” protesters who voiced their opposition—Trump supporters heckled DeSantis at the state fair as well.
As DeSantis flipped pork chops, the crowd reportedly chanted, “We love Trump!”
Iowa holds the first Republican presidential caucuses in the country, making it a key state for candidates to campaign in.
In the past two weeks, the DeSantis-aligned political action committee Never Back Down has spent more than $2.6 million in independent expenditures in Iowa, according to Federal Election Commission filings.
However, DeSantis has continued to trail former President Donald Trump in polls.
A New York Times/Siena survey released in early August showed Trump holding a 24-point lead over DeSantis among likely Iowa Republican caucusgoers.
On a national level, things look even bleaker for DeSantis, as Trump’s lead then jumps to an average of 39 points.
*First Published: Aug 14, 2023, 1:23 pm CDT
Katherine Huggins is a New York-based journalist and freelance contributor to the Daily Dot’s tech and politics section. She helps cover the United Nations for the Japanese newspaper Mainichi and previously reported on the 2022 midterm elections for Marketwatch. Her work has appeared in USA Today, Forbes, OpenSecrets and more.