Donald Trump has given his clearest signal yet that he will run for the White House in 2024 as he prepared to stage a rally in Iowa last night. It will be the first state to vote in the primary process to choose a Republican presidential nominee.
r Trump headed to the midwestern state for the first time since he was president, for a Save America rally.
The predicted audience of thousands in Des Moines was expected to dwarf those attracted by other potential Republican candidates who have been pouring into Iowa.
It came as he recorded his highest ever approval rating in the state this week, with 53pc of Iowans saying they had a favourable opinion of him. Mr Trump never reached that figure during his presidency.
Those who have turned up in Iowa, to raise money and make speeches, include Mr Trump’s former vice-president Mike Pence, his former UN ambassador Nikki Haley, his former secretary of state Mike Pompeo, former presidential candidate Senator Marco Rubio and several governors. One notable absentee is Florida governor Ron DeSantis.
He has topped a series of ‘no-Trump’ polls, including in Iowa, conducted on the assumption that the former president does not declare.
However, Mr DeSantis (43) would be unlikely to run against Mr Trump, who he strongly supports.
Ms Haley, who had been touted as an alternative to Mr Trump, has committed to not running if he does.
Mr Trump (75) would be 78 and five months old at the next election — six months older than Joe Biden was when he became the oldest elected president in 2020. However, Mr Trump remains the overwhelmingly dominant figure in the party.
As would-be candidates seek to read the 2024 Republican electorate, polls by the Des Moines Register, the main newspaper in Iowa, have taken on an outsized importance. Among many statistics that emerged was one that showed 86pc of unvaccinated Iowans had a positive view of Mr Trump. Just over half of Iowans are vaccinated against Covid-19.
Mr Biden’s national approval rating last week plummeted to 38pc.
© Telegraph Media Group Ltd 2021
Telegraph Media Group Limited