Original, heels or boots: Pritzker says leading Republicans are all MAGA

US Sen. Tina Smith (D-Minnesota) speaks as Biden campaign staffer Jeffrey Katzenberg and Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker look on at a Monday, Jan. 15, press conference in Des Moines ahead of the Iowa causes. Photo by Nikoel Hytrek/Starting Line

By Nikoel Hytrek

January 15, 2024

Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker said all three leading candidates in the Iowa GOP caucus—Donald Trump, Nikki Haley, and Ron DeSantis—represent the same extreme ideas and policy priorities but in different formats.

“Tonight’s contest is simply a question of whether you like your MAGA Trump agenda wrapped in the original packaging, or with high heels or with lifts,” Pritzker said. “Instead, the real decision will be made in the general election where the stakes couldn’t be higher.”

Pritzker, US Sen. Tina Smith of Minnesota, and Biden-Harris 2024 National Advisory Board Co-Chair Jeffrey Katzenberg held a press conference in Des Moines on Monday afternoon ahead of the caucuses to remind people what’s at stake if Trump or any of the Republican candidates win in November.

For example, all of the Republican presidential candidates support strict abortion bans and said they would sign whatever abortion ban crossed their desks if they were president.

“Since Roe was overturned, we have seen a catastrophic impact on women and their health,” Smith said. “In states where abortion has been banned—25 million women live in these states today—people have been forced to leave their homes to get the health care that they need.”

She said that chaos would only get worse with a national abortion ban because it would affect everyone, including those who live in states that have passed laws to protect abortion rights.

“Americans believe in freedom,” Smith said. “We believe in people’s rights to make their own decisions without politicians mucking around in their private lives.”

And Trump has said he’s proud of helping to end Roe v Wade in 2022.

“It doesn’t take much to see that someone who brags about their role in ripping away freedoms from millions of American women will do even more damage if given the chance,” Pritzker said. “And it doesn’t take much to see that someone who’s committed crimes, who can only whine about how he’s been wronged, is going to do not much to protect or stand up for your family.”

Pritzker also talked about how President Joe Biden signed a law to cap insulin prices at $35 and to lower prescription drug costs, while Trump and other Republicans promised to get rid of the Affordable Care Act without a replacement.

He also pointed toward the infrastructure law Biden signed in 2021 that has created more manufacturing jobs and begun to address America’s infrastructure issues.

There’s also the 2022 gun safety bill Biden signed, which expanded background checks, expanded a law that prevents people convicted of domestic abuse from owning a gun, and included incentives for states to pass red-flag laws.

“No matter which version of the Trump MAGA agenda wins tonight—original, heels, or boots—the platform they are fighting for will cause irreparable harm to this country,” Pritzker said. “The American people came together to reject this MAGA extremism in 2018, in 2020 and 2022, again in 2023. And they’ll do it yet again in 2024.”

  • Nikoel Hytrek

    Nikoel Hytrek is Iowa Starting Line’s longest-serving reporter. She covers LGBTQ issues, abortion rights and all topics of interest to Iowans. Her biggest goal is to help connect the dots between policy and people’s real lives. If you have story ideas or tips, send them over to [email protected].


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