The quintessential establishment figure, Senator Chuck Grassley, introduced the rebel upstart Donald Trump at a rally in Pella, Iowa, on Saturday, although the longtime Iowa Senator did not offer his endorsement of The Donald.
“We have an opportunity once again to make America great again,” Grassley said, echoing Trump’s campaign slogan.
“I’m excited to be invited to be here. I’m excited as I see so many large crowd at various events around Iowa,” Grassley said. “I’m excited to see the big crowds because of the big energy that comes with it and we’ve got to keep up this energy that’s shown here today and many other places around Iowa because that is what is going to take for us to win back the White House in November.”
Grassley had harsh words for President Barack Obama and the past eight years of his presidency. He also called out Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders for wanting to curb gun rights, raising taxes, spending and more regulation.
“We need a new commander and chief and that obviously is not Hillary,” Grassley said. “There’s so much at stake for us in America. We’ve had eight years of unconstitutional actions to fix… When you deal with a president that says ‘I have a phone and a pen and it doesn’t really matter that there is a Congress,’ it really doesn’t matter there is a Constitution. … We’ve got a president who is out of control and government can soon be out of control.”
This isn’t the first time that Grassley has snubbed his colleague Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas). Just days ago, he rapped Cruz over his positions on wind power and ethanol. Last week, Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad called explicitly for Cruz’s defeat due to his opposition to ethanol subsidies, in the clearest sign yet that the state’s political establishment is coalescing against Cruz.
It’s interesting to watch most of the establishment beginning to line up behind Trump, despite the candidate’s constant bad-mouthing of them. But that’s politics, and Trump is beginning to look like he’s going to be the Republican nominee. Everyone likes to be with the winner.
Cruz, on the other hand, burned those bridges long ago. With many hands raised against him in his own party, it will be hard for him to overcome the hostility and break through.
Grassley has been a part of the Washington establishment since 1975, his first term as a congressman. He has been elected to the Senate six times and is running for a seventh term this year. He is precisely the sort of politician that Trump has been railing against since he began his campaign.
Grassley may not endorse anyone before the primary on February 1, but if he does, his word will carry a lot of weight with Iowa Republicans. But will Trump really want to embrace an endorsement from such an entrenched establishment figure?
He’d be crazy not to.