During the Iowa GOP’s Lincoln Dinner, Republican candidate Will Hurd received boos for his bold statement about Trump’s motivations in the 2024 election. Among a dozen Republican contenders vying for the 2024 nomination, few dared to criticize Trump directly, given his strong support among GOP voters.
But former Texas Rep. Will Hurd took the stage and delivered the evening’s most cutting attack, asserting that Trump’s primary goal in running for president again is to avoid facing legal consequences, alluding to the ongoing legal issues Trump is dealing with, including a recent superseding indictment.
“Donald Trump is not running for president to make America great again,” Hurd said, invoking Trump’s slogan before invoking the legal troubles cascading around him, including a superseding indictment this week. “Donald Trump is running to stay out of prison.”
This critical remark was met with loud jeers from the crowd as Hurd left the stage.
“Listen, I know the truth,” Hurd said, talking over the crowd as he neared the 10-minute time limit given to all candidates. “The truth is hard. But if we elect Donald Trump, we are willingly giving [President] Joe Biden four more years in the White House and America can’t handle that.”
Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson was the only other candidate to criticize Trump overtly and by name, telling the crowd: “As it stands right now, you will be voting in Iowa while multiple criminal cases are pending against former President Trump. Iowa has an opportunity to say, we as a party, we need a new direction for America and for the GOP. We are a party of individual responsibility, accountability and support for the rule of law. We must not abandon that.”
The episode at the Iowa Events Center ballroom highlighted both the enduring influence and loyalty that Trump commands and the challenges faced by those seeking to challenge him in the race.
Most candidates chose not to antagonize Trump, who leads in the polls, directly or indirectly.
Hurd’s and Hutchinson’s remarks stood out at the event where all 13 candidates had equal speaking time. While Trump, known for his lengthy speeches, managed to speak just within the allotted time, other candidates were held to the 10-minute limit. However, Hutchinson exceeded his time, and his criticism of Trump was interrupted by music.
Take a look:
Hurd: Donald Trump is not running for president to make America great again.. Donald Trump is running to stay out of prison
Crowd: *boo* pic.twitter.com/JOvW3ypivx
— Acyn (@Acyn) July 29, 2023