Donald Trump remarked at an Iowa rally that he doesn’t want a “poor person” to hold office in the economic cabinet. The Iowa rally was used as opportunity to justify his recent cabinet appointments, made up of incredibly wealthy business interests.
While many are criticizing Trump for appointing former Goldman Sachs president Eric Cohn, investor Wilbur Ross, and other high-level capitalists to his cabinet, the president has made remarks justifying his choices. He claims that his appointees “had to give up a lot to take these jobs” and that Cohn “went from massive pay days to peanuts.” Trump went on to claim “And I love all people, rich or poor, but in those particular positions I just don’t want a poor person. Does that make sense?”
Donald Trump is holding a tour to celebrate the result of several recent special elections, including a Republican victory in Georgia coming in earlier this week. Trump briefly spoke at a local community college, and cheered on Karen Handel’s electoral win. Many felt that these special elections were early referendums on the Trump presidency, and these wins for Republicans are felt to signal support for their agenda. Trump’s “victory lap” of rallies and speaking appearances come at a difficult time for the presidency, as he is mired in scandals and charges of corruption.
The Trump presidency has been marked by criticism and scandal about their involvement with Russian officials, as well as Trump’s firing of FBI director James Comey. However, Trump made no mention of these scandals, other than dismissing them as a “witch hunt.” This tour has been a celebration, with little to no mention of current political strife.
Iowa went Republican during the last election, and Trump is looking to shore up support in this state. While the state went red during the last election, this is no guarantee of support for the Republican president. Iowa has a very large share of voters that lack a party affiliation, so this move by Trump has been described as a try to move beyond his electoral base and capture a share of independent voters. In fact, Iowa has more independent voters than voters affiliated with either party. Independents make up 36% of the Iowa electorate, compared with 33% going Republican and 31% going Democrat. Time will tell if this strategy pays off for the Trump administration.