An online video featuring former President Donald Trump gained significant traction on social media on Monday night, coinciding with the commencement of vote counting after the initial Republican primary in Iowa.
Within the footage, Trump is observed descending a flight of stairs before approaching a camera and engaging with assembled reporters.
“Great night and fantastic place,” Trump exclaimed. “We’ve won it twice, as you know, the last two elections, and I think we’re gonna have a fantastic night tonight.”
“The people are fantastic, and I’ve never seen spirit like they have—countrywide, but in Iowa, I’ve never seen spirit like this, thank you,” Trump stated, diverting his attention from the camera when reporters bombarded him with inquiries.
Trump emerged victorious in the Iowa caucus, garnering over 51% of the vote, surpassing Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who garnered approximately 21.2%, and former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, who received 19.1%.
Trump commented on the performances of his two main competitors after the election was declared over.
“I really think this is time now for everybody to come together, whether it is Republican or Democrat or liberal or conservative. It would be so nice if we could come together and straighten out the world and straighten out the problems and all of the death and destruction that we’re witnessing that has practically never been seen,” Trump exclaimed. “I want to make that a big part of our message. We’re going to come together.
“I want to congratulate Ron and Nikki for having a good time together,” Trump expressed to his followers. “They had a good time together, and I think they both actually did very well. We don’t even know what the outcome of second place is.”
“I also want to congratulate Vivek because he did a hell of a job. He came from zero, and he’s got a big percent, probably almost eight percent, and that is an amazing job,” he went on. “Very smart people, very capable people.”
— Donald J. Trump Posts From His Truth Social (@TrumpDailyPosts) January 16, 2024
The DeSantis campaign vehemently criticized the media for their premature predictions of Trump’s victory in the caucus, which were made immediately after the votes closed.
The campaign accused the media of “election interference” following their swift declaration of Trump being the winner, as reported by The Associated Press.
“Absolutely outrageous that the media would participate in election interference by calling the race before tens of thousands of Iowans even had a chance to vote. The media is in the tank for Trump and this is the most egregious example yet,” stated Andrew Romeo, a representative of the DeSantis campaign, posted on X.
Absolutely outrageous that the media would participate in election interference by calling the race before tens of thousands of Iowans even had a chance to vote. The media is in the tank for Trump and this is the most egregious example yet.
— Andrew Romeo (@andrewromeo33) January 16, 2024
The Associated Press declared the winner of the race at approximately 8:31 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. “Outlets such as CNN, MSNBC and Fox News made the same projection around the same time. Decision Desk HQ also called the race for Trump just before 9 p.m. Eastern,” as reported by The Hill.
The Hill included:
The caucus meetings kicked off at 8 p.m. Eastern, expected to vary in length across locations in the state, with some results available in as little as half an hour and others not anticipated until later this evening, according to The Des Moines Register.
When the projections put Trump as the winner, the second-place winner was still up in the air — with Haley and DeSantis neck-and-neck for runner-up.
Heading into Monday’s closely watched contest, observers widely expected Trump to win the Hawkeye State — but DeSantis has been investing heavily in the state. He’s completed a tour of all 99 Iowa counties and secured the endorsement of Iowa Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds.
“The very very early results show Trump winning big, but the early network call is a little questionable. People are still at caucus sites, and they have phones – how many people see the call and bail?” David Weigel, a journalist with the news outlet Semafor posted in a statement on X.
In the meantime, Trump scored a major endorsement from a former 2024 primary opponent.
North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum, who just abandoned his own campaign for the presidency, officially backed Donald Trump as the preferred candidate for president. The endorsement was declared during a Trump rally in Indianola, Iowa, on Sunday.
Burgum, who terminated his campaign due to poor performance in the polls and inability to meet the criteria for significant GOP debates, publicly declared, “I’m here to do something that none of the other presidential primary candidates have done, and that endorses Donald J. Trump for president.”
The decision was made in response to Trump’s ongoing lead in the polls leading up to the Iowa caucuses.
“President Trump protected our borders. He cut red tape like no president has ever done before. He passed the largest tax cuts in the history of America, and he supercharged our economy,” Bergum exclaimed.
Burgum has maintained a connection with Trump that may be described as predominantly favorable and in agreement with the positions of the Republican Party.