Jones Co. Republicans welcome President to Iowa

President Donald Trump was in Eastern Iowa on July 16 visiting NICC in Peosta. Air Force One landed in Dubuque where Trump was greeted by Gov. Kim Reynolds and many Republicans from Jones County. (Photos submitted)

Despite a close timeframe on July 26, Trump made a point of greeting the crowd at the Dubuque airport, shaking hands and giving autographs.
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     President Donald Trump was in Eastern Iowa last week on July 16. After Air Force One touched down at the Dubuque Airport, Trump headed down Highway 20 to Northeast Iowa Community College in Peosta to take part in an invite-only roundtable discussion. The event included business leaders, educators, professionals, and technical workers from across Iowa.

     Gov. Kim Reynolds and Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg welcomed Trump to Iowa that morning. Congressman Rod Blum, who’s up for re-election in November, accompanied the President, as did Trump’s daughter Ivanka.

     Almost 30 Republicans from Jones County were invited to welcome the President at the airport. Jones County Republican Chair Jerald Retzlaff heard about the President’s visit during fair week. Then, last Monday, he received a call asking if “some Republicans wanted to greet Trump at the airport.

     “It was basically a greeting party,” shared Retzlaff. “There were about 150 people there.”

     While 27 tickets were handed out in Jones County, Retzlaff admitted he could have invited many more.

     “They offered me 10-12 tickets and I told them that was not enough,” he said. “Jones County was well represented, and I could have gotten rid of a lot of (tickets).”

     Those with tickets had to submit their names for security clearance.

     The group was at the airport by 9 a.m., and waited inside an empty hangar before being escorted out onto the tarmac in front of Air Force One.

     “We were outside when the plane landed,” recalled Retzlaff. “It was a neat opportunity to go and see Air Force One land.” Retzlaff said the opportunity would be the same regardless of the President.

     “I looked at it as an honor,” he said. “It’s a way to honor the President, or any future president, to show respect for the office.”

     Other leaders in the administration who accompanied Trump were Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross and Secretary of Labor Alex Acosta. Retzlaff said before the president exited the plane, a group of 30 or so military officials and reporters vacated the plane.

     “There was a lot of military security and Secret Service there and along the runways,” he shared.

     No flights left or landed from the Dubuque airport while Trump was here.

     The President walked up to the fenced-in area and shook people’s hands and greeted them, thanking them for coming to welcome him to Iowa.

     “He wasn’t allowed to give autographs but he did,” said Retzlaff. “He’s definitely a people person, spending 15 minutes with the crowd.”

     While the group from Jones County could not attend the roundtable at NICC, like many, Retzlaff viewed the event online.

     He said about a third of the greeters from Jones County are farmers, and if they haven’t yet, will soon be experiencing a hit from the trade/tariff war. Despite the pinch, Retzlaff said he doesn’t believe their support of the President would waiver.

     “The longer it (the trade war) goes on, the more difficult it will become, though,” he said of backing Trump.

     Retzlaff feels Trump’s move to open up trade with Europe is a positive move. “It assists with our bargaining and position with Russia,” he said.

     And the $12 billion support for farmers, Retzlaff said, will not only help the agricultural community, but trickle down to Main Streets as well.

     While Trump could have visited any number of community colleges or small towns across the country, Retzlaff said this event was also to aid Blum in his re-election campaign.

     “A lot of money has been pumped into Blum’s campaign,” shared Retzlaff. “He has a public support, which is plus for Rod.”

     The First District race in Iowa, Blum vs. Democrat Abby Finkenauer, has been named one of the key races to watch in November.

     “It was fairly close in the last election two years ago,” said Retzlaff.



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