In Iowa, Trump praises the intelligence of Kim Jong Un, Vladimir Putin

Donald Trump.
(Image credit: Alex Edelman/AFP via Getty Images)

President Trump declared during a rally in Des Moines on Wednesday night that the United States needs an intelligent leader who is able to keep up with the likes of Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin, and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

"President Xi of China, he's 100 percent," Trump said. "Putin of Russia, 100 percent. Kim Jong Un of North Korea, 100 percent. These people are sharp and they're smart. Joe has lost it. In his best days he wasn't a smart man, and everybody knows it." Trump was referring to former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic nominee for president.

Polls show a tight race in Iowa, a state Trump won easily in 2016. Trump brought up a new poll by Focus on Rural America that has him leading Biden 50 percent to 44 percent, and while this should have Trump feeling better than the polls showing the two effectively tied, he told the crowd, "For me to only be up six, I'm a little bit concerned, I'll tell you that. Because nobody's going to do for Iowa what I did for Iowa."

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The rally was held at the Des Moines International Airport, with thousands of people standing next to each other, many of them not wearing masks. Nearby, a digital billboard showed the message "Trump Covid Superspreader Event," with an arrow pointing toward the airport. While Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) issued a proclamation that states people must stay at least six feet apart at social gatherings, she used her Twitter account to encourage people to attend the event, the Des Moines Register reports, and spoke before Trump took the stage.

After throwing MAGA hats into the crowd, Reynolds told the audience, "The momentum, the enthusiasm, the energy is on our side. Don't believe the polls, don't believe what the media is telling you. Up and down the ticket, people are fired up for Republican victories on Nov. 3."

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Catherine Garcia

Catherine Garcia is night editor for Her writing and reporting has appeared in Entertainment Weekly and, The New York Times, The Book of Jezebel, and other publications. A Southern California native, Catherine is a graduate of the University of Redlands and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.