Former President Donald Trump’s planned outdoor rally in Florida was abruptly canceled on Saturday due to a tornado watch.
The cancellation came on the same day that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, considered a top potential challenger for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination, engaged with voters in the state.
Trump, who had yet to depart from Palm Beach, promised to reschedule the rally soon, conveying the message in a post on his social media platform, Truth Social. Urging people to seek shelter or find a safe haven, he expressed his disappointment in another post about the canceled event.
The decision to cancel the rally prevented a highly anticipated clash between two political heavyweights, setting the stage for an intense primary contest in the state that will hold the nation’s first primary next year. Earlier that day, Governor DeSantis interacted with voters at the annual family picnic event hosted by Iowa Republican Representative Randy Feenstra in Sioux Center, located in western Iowa.
Craig Robinson, a seasoned Republican operative, viewed Trump’s planned rally as an attempt to overshadow DeSantis’ appearances on Saturday. DeSantis was scheduled to headline a state party fundraising event in Cedar Rapids, providing him with additional opportunities to connect with voters.
National polling, as reflected in the Real Clear Politics average, shows Trump holding a significant 31 percentage point lead over DeSantis, with other candidates trailing far behind in single digits.
Although there has been limited polling in Iowa, Republican insiders believe that DeSantis, who recently gained endorsements from 37 GOP state legislators, will have the chance to present his case to voters and position himself as a better choice than the current frontrunner.