If you aren’t on a farm, are you really at a campaign event?
WAUKEE, Iowa — On October 19th, Vice President Mike Pence came to Manning Farms to talk about the Trump 2020 campaign and discuss the benefits of the United States-Canada-Mexico Agreement (USMCA). Before arriving, I had no idea where the event would be. I was just given an address and drove there, not knowing what was going to happen, but expecting the event to be at some sort of auditorium or school gymnasium. In true Iowa fashion, the event was held at a family-owned farm that was in the middle of nowhere. I actually had to park in a plowed field.
When I was walking in, a metal detector guarded the entrance, secret service surrounded the area, and everything was blocked off. Of course, this is expected when going to see the vice president, but it was strange to see such high security at a farm. They also had assigned seats for everyone that seemed to be pre-calculated. The organizers planned exactly where they wanted each group of people to sit. The group I was with, Drake College Republicans, was in the third row and close toward the center.
The seating and stage were placed in between two of the farm buildings. Behind the stage there were huge tractors, silos, American flags, and large bales of hay that enclosed the area. On the tractors were huge signs displaying the phrase “USMCA: A Better Deal for American Workers.” It truly was the perfect setting for a rural Iowa look and feel. All of the speakers even walked through the tall stacks of hay to get to the stage. The quintessential Iowa feel really can’t be made up.
At the beginning of the event, there was a panel with local citizens who talked about how the USCMA would affect them, which would usually be in a positive way. There were also a few more notable speakers that talked before Pence came out, including Senators Joni Ernst and Chuck Grassley and Governor Kim Reynolds. They all touted the same message that USCMA is a great free trade agreement and that everyone should support it and Trump’s reelection campaign.
Pence was an engaging speaker that got the crowd excited about Trump’s possible reelection and about the USMCA as well. He acted like a very gracious guest by thanking the hosts and other speakers numerous times throughout his speech. Afterward, he stayed, shook hands, took pictures, and signed MAGA hats. Before leaving, a group of friends and I were able to walk right up to the Vice President, shake his hand, and get a quick picture with him. Secret service not only let us through to talk to him, but they also encouraged it and told us to walk right through everyone. Even for a person as important as the Vice President, everything at this event was still so “Iowa”.