Boston Herald

GOP boasts upstanding field at Iowa candidates’ event

- Peter Lucas is a veteran Massachuse­tts political reporter and columnist.

Not one of the eight GOP presidenti­al hopefuls who showed up to campaign in Iowa last weekend fell down.

And one, former Vice President Mike Pence, even road a motorcycle, a cobalt blue Harley Davidson, and did not fall off as Joe Biden did when he tumbled from his bicycle at his summer home in Rehoboth, Delaware.

Which says something about the physical state of the GOP candidates in the wake of President Biden’s latest header on the stage at the U.S. Air Force commenceme­nt ceremony in Colorado Springs days earlier.

At least they don’t fall, not yet anyway.

And the oldest Republican candidate, frontrunne­r Donald Trump, 76, having been in Iowa two days earlier, did not bother to show up at all.

The event was Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst’s annual GOP “Roast and Ride” political gathering, which kicked off the summer campaign season in a state that holds the first in the nation caucuses in January.

You ride to the event on a motorcycle, the way Pence, 63, Ernst and the other bikers did, and if you don’t fall off or wipe out you get to attend the barbecue.

While it is sad to watch the increasing­ly frail 80-year-old president take another spill — which again instantly made news around the world — it also seriously questions whether Biden is up to the job, let alone planning to seek re-election.

You have to wonder too if Biden could have gotten up at all were it not for the three aides who helped lift him back to his feet.

It was not a good look for the leader of the free world.

Hardly had Biden tried to make light of the fall (“I was sandbagged.”) than the ever watchful and ambitious leaders of the Chinese Communist Party had a warship cut provocativ­ely and dangerousl­y in the path of a U.S. destroyer twice in the Taiwan Strait. The U.S. ship was conducting joint exercises with Canada in the internatio­nally recognized waters.

A week earlier, in another provocatio­n, a Chinese fighter plane flew directly in front of a U.S. reconnaiss­ance plane operating in internatio­nal air space in the South China sea, causing the U.S. plane to hit turbulence.

China believes it can walk all over Joe Biden and not worry about any consequenc­es.

We would think the same way about Chinese Communist Party Leader Xi Jinping if we saw television pictures of him stumbling and falling up the steps of his plane or falling on the stage during a Chinese military parade.

Recall how Americans mocked Soviet Union leaders Boris Yeltsin and Leonid Brezhnev during the Cold War for being drunk.

At any rate the “Roast and Ride” at the Iowa Fairground­s was the place to be if you were running for president.

Making the most of it was Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, 44, Trump’s biggest threat.

He was accompanie­d by his attractive wife Casey, who wore a leather jacket befitting the occasion, not DeSantis. He wore just a checkered shirt.

But it was a striking looking black leather jacket. It featured an outline of Florida on the back with the words, “Where Woke Goes to Die” along with an image of alligator.

It looked as though she were ready to hop on a motorcycle too.

Asked to define what “woke” really is, DeSantis said it was “a form of cultural Marxism” that casts merit and achievemen­t aside in favor of identity politics. “It is basically a war on the truth.”

Sounding like Winston Churchill in his famous and fiery “we will never surrender” fspeech on the eve of Hitler’s threatened invasion of England in 1940, DeSantis told supporters, “We will wage war on the woke. We will fight the woke in education; we will fight the woke in corporatio­ns; we will fight in the halls of Congress. We will never, ever surrender to the woke mob.”

And nobody fell down.

 ?? JOSEPH CRESS — IOWA CITY PRESS-CITIZEN VIA AP ?? Former Vice President Mike Pence rides a motorcycle during U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst’s Roast and Ride June 3 in Des Moines, Iowa.
JOSEPH CRESS — IOWA CITY PRESS-CITIZEN VIA AP Former Vice President Mike Pence rides a motorcycle during U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst’s Roast and Ride June 3 in Des Moines, Iowa.
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