From Des Moines to Jerusalem

Gov. Ron DeSantis has a conversation with Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds at an event in Davenport, Iowa on March 10.  Ron Johnson/AP

From Des Moines to Jerusalem

David Mark

March 31, 12:15 AM March 31, 12:15 AM

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Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) is widely seen as the chief 2024 Republican primary rival to former President Donald Trump. DeSantis hasn’t said he’s in, but the governor’s travel schedule suggests he’s trying to build up foreign policy bona fides ahead of a White House bid.

DeSantis on April 27 will head to Israel and deliver a keynote at a Celebrate the Faces of Israel event. Early in his tenure, DeSantis pledged to be the most “pro-Israel governor in America” and has visited Israel on at least one occasion.


Trump, meanwhile, has long talked up his pro-Israel actions as president. This includes moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and the 2020 Abraham Accords, which built on Israel’s existing peace treaties with neighbors Egypt and Jordan to include Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, and, a few months later, Morocco and then Sudan.

Republican presidential contender Nikki Haley will embark on a trip to the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas on April 3 as she rolls out her plans to tackle the border crisis.

Haley, who was South Carolina governor from 2011-17, followed by nearly two years as U.N. ambassador in the Trump administration, will be joined on the southern border by Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-TX). They’ll make stops near San Antonio and Eagle Pass, Texas, which have been home to some of the largest migrant activity of the crisis.

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The trip marks the first border visit by an active 2024 contender this year, according to Haley’s campaign. Republicans have long lashed out at President Joe Biden over the festering border crisis, and he has lurched a tad to the center in response, drawing unease from some liberals.

Haley won’t have the place to herself, though, when she visits Iowa from April 10-12. She’ll hold a series of events with Rep. Randy Feenstra (R-IA) in northwest Iowa, the state’s most conservative area, and in the state capital of Des Moines on the trip’s final day.

Another South Carolina Republican, Sen. Tim Scott, plans to travel to Iowa on April 12. Scott then heads on to New Hampshire on April 13, followed by a home-state “Faith in America” donor summit set for April 14 and 15 in Charleston. A candidacy announcement, if it happens, would likely come soon after.

Iowa Republicans have also been visited by former Arkansas GOP Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who is considering a run. The former House member, head of the Drug Enforcement Administration, and then Department of Homeland Security official during the George W. Bush administration was in Iowa on March 27 to speak to the Iowa Bull Moose Club in Des Moines.

Hutchinson participated in speaking gigs the following couple of days before the Iowa Capitol Republican Women in Adel, the Drake University College Republicans, the Central Iowa Young Republicans in Des Moines, and the Polk County Republican Party Luncheon in West Des Moines.

Speaking of Iowa, former Vice President Mike Pence recently returned from travels there ahead of a potential campaign announcement that he’s joining the 2024 Republican presidential fray. Pence previously visited Iowa, the first-in-the-nation voting state for Republicans, less than two weeks earlier.

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On March 29, Pence gave remarks at a breakfast in Urbandale, a western suburb of Des Moines, for the Westside Conservative Club. Pence then traveled to eastern Iowa for a “fireside chat” luncheon in Cedar Rapids and a signing for his book So Help Me God. Pence wrapped up the day in Coralville, speaking to the Johnson County Republicans at the group’s Reagan Dinner.

Pence was Trump’s vice president from 2017-21 after four years as Indiana governor and 12 years in the House representing a conservative northeast Hoosier State district. A 2024 Pence candidacy would pit him against his former boss in the White House, with whom he split ways after the Jan. 6 Capitol riot that threatened the life of the former vice president and his family.

Pence previously was in Iowa on March 18, when he participated in a Des Moines foreign policy event hosted by the Bastion Institute. Pence appeared with Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) and former Maryland GOP Gov. Larry Hogan, who recently decided against a 2024 Republican presidential bid.

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