Rivals' silence at Iowa dinner shows Trump's dominance in 2024 race

Someone backstage at the Lincoln Dinner clearly had a mischievous sense of humour.

USA - Donald Trump - 2024
USA - Donald Trump - 2024
As each of the candidates hoping to become the Republican Party's presidential nominee for 2024 walked out to speak they were accompanied by a blast of music: a clip of the country song Only In America.

The 45th President of the United States didn't seem to mind. He doesn't try to hide from the fact that he is already facing two criminal trials and may soon be indicted in two more cases. In fact, he wears these charges as a badge of pride.

Mr Trump insists he is being unfairly targeted for purely political reasons.

He told the crowd of 1,200 Republican supporters at this dinner in Iowa - a key state because it will hold the first election in the race for the nomination next January - that he would not have been prosecuted if he was not running for the White House again. And he would not have been prosecuted if he was not winning.

Using serious criminal charges as a mark of success takes chutzpah. But that is something Mr Trump has always had in spades. And it leaves his opponents deeply confused about how to respond.

Most simply chose to ignore Thursday evening's news that Mr Trump had been charged with three more counts in the classified documents investigation. In fact, they declined to take the opportunity to challenge the clear frontrunner in the contest at all.

One of the lesser known contenders, Will Hurd, did take a shot. The former Texas Congressman and CIA officer claimed Donald Trump was not running to make America great again.

"Donald Trump is not running for president to represent the people that voted for him in 2016 or 2020. Donald Trump is running to stay out of prison."

Loud boos and rattling cutlery nearly drowned out the rest of what he had to say, with one man shouting "go home". It was clear he had lost the room.


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