The Democratic National Committee (DNC) has launched four billboards in Iowa attacking Republican presidential candidates for their “anti-history record” as they spend the weekend campaigning in the Hawkeye state.
The billboards, which will be in Dubuque and Cedar Rapids, come as Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley faces criticism over her remarks at a town hall event in New Hampshire in which she failed to mention that slavery was the cause of the Civil War.
The former South Carolina governor suggested that the cause of the war was “basically how government was going to run, the freedoms and what people could and couldn’t do.” She later claimed the voter who asked her the question was a “Democrat Plant.”
The ads the DNC is launching target Haley for her comments, as well as the records of her fellow GOP candidates Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and former President Trump. The three currently top the GOP primary field in the state, according to Decision Desk HQ and The Hill’s aggregation of polls.
“We are at a pivotal and dangerous moment for American democracy: Voters are looking on at a GOP primary with three frontrunners who are so subsumed by the MAGA takeover of their party that they are campaigning on an agenda to whitewash slavery, ban books, and tell bold-faced lies about our history,” DNC National Press Secretary Sarafina Chitika said in a statement.
The billboards feature a photo of Haley, DeSantis and Trump and say that “MAGA’s America,” includes whitewashing slavery, erasing history, banning books and parroting Hitler.
In the first Presidential debate in the 2020 election cycle, Trump declined to condemn white supremacists and far-right groups. He later went back on his comments and said he has condemned all white supremacists “many times.”
In separate campaign events this month, Trump claimed migrants were “poisoning the blood of our country.” Critics have said the remark echoes the rhetoric of Adolf Hitler, who wrote in “Mein Kampf” that German blood was being poisoned by Jews. The former president later denied that he intended any racist sentiment with his comments and said he is “not a student of Hitler.”
Under DeSantis’s leadership, Florida became the first in a wave of red states to enact laws that make it easier for parents to challenge what books school libraries carry, a push that has been particularly centered around books that depict race and LGBTQ+ history and issues.
DeSantis has also faced criticism in response to Florida’s revised educational guidelines on teaching slavery, which tell teachers to instruct students on “how slaves developed skills which, in some instances, could be applied for their personal benefit.” The governor has defended the guidelines, saying the backlash against him is “in bad faith.”
Haley will make stops in Dubuque, Cedar Falls, Cedar Rapids and Iowa City over the coming days. DeSantis will make an appearance in Davenport before hosting a meet-and-greet with Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) in Elkader this week.
The Republican presidential candidates are likely to continue campaigning in the early-voting state, as the Iowa caucuses begin in less than a month on Jan. 15.
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