Home U.S. News Iowa’s Governor Will Interview G.O.P. Field, Minus One: Trump

Iowa’s Governor Will Interview G.O.P. Field, Minus One: Trump

Iowa’s Governor Will Interview G.O.P. Field, Minus One: Trump

When Gov. Kim Reynolds interviews nearly the entire Republican presidential field at the Iowa State Fair next month in a series of one-on-one chats, there will be an especially notable absence: former President Donald J. Trump, the race’s clear front-runner.

Ms. Reynold’s office on Tuesday released a list of participants for the interview series that did not include Mr. Trump. The former president, who has expressed his anger at Ms. Reynolds for not endorsing him, declined an invitation to participate.

While it is traditional for Iowa governors to stay on the sidelines of presidential primaries, Mr. Trump’s camp believes Ms. Reynolds is neutral in name only, pointing to a series of events she has attended with Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, Mr. Trump’s chief rival.

Mr. Trump appears intent on prolonging his public feud with the popular Ms. Reynolds, which has angered and puzzled conservatives in the state. One Republican state senator even flipped his endorsement from Mr. Trump to Mr. DeSantis after the spat. Mr. Trump, confident in his lead over the rest of the field, has shown a wider willingness to skip important primary events, potentially including the first Republican presidential debate in late August, which he has not committed to attending.

The interviews with Ms. Reynolds, called the “Fair-Side Chats,” will take place between Aug. 10 and Aug. 18 at JR’s SouthPork Ranch at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines. The Iowa State Fair — famous for its fried foods on sticks and life-size butter cow sculpture — is a crucial opportunity for presidential hopefuls to mingle with voters ahead of the state’s caucuses in January.

Steven Cheung, a spokesman for Mr. Trump, said the former president planned to attend the state fair — just not the interview with Ms. Reynolds.

“President Trump looks forward to interacting with tens of thousands of Iowans at the fair in an open and unfiltered setting,” Mr. Cheung said in a statement.

Of the other major Republican presidential candidates, only former Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey will not participate in an interview with Ms. Reynolds. Mr. Christie’s campaign has said he is choosing to compete in New Hampshire and South Carolina, the other early nominating states, over Iowa.

Otherwise, the remaining major candidates, including Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina, as well as long shots like the businessman Perry Johnson, agreed to attend.

“The Iowa State Fair showcases the best of Iowa — from our people to our culture and wonderful agriculture industry — and it’s the perfect venue for a conversation with the candidates,” Ms. Reynolds said in a statement.

Mr. DeSantis, meanwhile, has seemed to eagerly cultivate his relationship with Ms. Reynolds, telling reporters at a campaign stop in the state this month that he would consider her as a running mate, should he win the nomination.

“I mean, she’s one of the top public servants in America,” he said.

Recent polls show Mr. DeSantis in second place in Iowa, a state many of his allies say he must win, trailing Mr. Trump by roughly 30 percentage points. The governor is scheduled to begin a bus tour of the Des Moines area on Thursday before speaking at a dinner for the Republican Party of Iowa on Friday. Almost all the other candidates, including Mr. Trump, are also set to speak at the dinner.

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