Governor Kim Reynolds is back to her needlessly divisive ways. In a little-noticed event in Mason City this past week after her Condition of the State address, the Republican governor accused Democrats of rooting for Iowa to fail as a state.
“They want the state to fail, I don’t,” Radio Iowa contributor KRIB reported Reynolds saying on Thursday. “I’m optimistic about the future and the capacity that exists within the state. I don’t know where they are traveling, but I travel all across the state, and I talked to these job creators that really are just ready to grow and expand, and they are investing in our schools and Iowans.”
The event was part of Reynolds’ statewide tour following her speech to the Iowa Legislature. The remarks seemingly went unnoticed by most news outlets, but state auditor candidate Rob Sand drew attention to them on Sunday, arguing that it was “untrue, divisive, and makes it harder for two parties to work together to solve problems” in an email to supporters.
Reynolds’ attack on Democrats sounded very similar to the divisive comments she made last October at a fundraiser event headlined by Missouri Governor Eric Greitens, who this past week faced an explosive sexual blackmail scandal.
“The liberals are unhinged and they are out for us,” she said at that event, drawing widespread outrage and condemnation. When she tried to clarify the line a week later, she decried the lack of civility in Iowa politics, and then the next day she named Steve King as her campaign co-chair.
With this case, Reynolds apparently seems to think that Democratic criticism of aspects of the Iowa government is evidence of them rooting for the state to fail further and for more people to get hurt, assumedly in order to gain a political advantage. Of course, Democratic leaders, candidates and activists would tell you they’re concerned over the management of things like Medicaid due to heartbreaking stories of actual Iowans facing life-and-death decisions after being denied care from the new privatized system.
Iowa Democratic Party Chair Troy Price, who was also in Mason City on the day Reynolds was there, pushed back on Reynolds’ sentiment. “No, Governor – We are tired of seeing the thousands of Iowans left behind,” he tweeted.
Gov @KimReynoldsIA sez that @iowademocrats want to see Iowa fail. No, Governor – We are tired of seeing the thousands of Iowans left behind. It’s time for a new leader who will fight for Iowa again. It’s time for a Democrat b/c #IowaDeservesBetter https://t.co/e2X7bwB16D
— Troy Price (@troymprice) January 12, 2018
When Reynolds made her “unhinged” comments, it took her team several days to settle on an actual explanation of why she would slander her political opposition with such unfair words. At first, her campaign communications director provided media outlets with a defense of the statement by pointing to stories about rowdy protests at Republican events, press releases and statements that Fred Hubbell and Nate Boulton made about policy issues and stories about national Democratic speakers like Alec Baldwin. But after that didn’t seem to work, Reynolds told reporters at a press conference it was because of nasty Facebook comments people made on one of her posts about her grandchildren.
The Iowa press mostly went along with that framing, despite the earlier rationale that was clearly different. It will be interesting to see how many attempts at explaining away this comment before Reynolds brings her grandchildren into the story.
by Pat Rynard