It’s an understatement to say heads were turned Saturday when Grassley showed up with Trump at a Trump rally in Pella, Iowa. “We have an opportunity once again to make America great again,” Grassley said. “I want Mr. Trump to know that I appreciate his support for me and most importantly for Iowa being first in the nation, our all-important Iowa caucus.”
Was Grassley, the most revered politician in the state, endorsing Donald Trump? Early reports sounded like it; one well-connected Iowa Republican told me he was “dumbfounded” when he heard the news.
But no, Grassley did not endorse Trump. The senator has, in fact, offered to appear with all the GOP candidates at their events, and will do so before next Monday’s caucuses. Still, in the superheated context of the Iowa campaign’s final week, Grassley’s evenhanded decision to appear with the Republican front-runner may be more valuable to Trump than the others. As Monday nears, Trump’s opponents — not just Cruz — are trying to convince Iowa Republicans that Trump is not one of them, that he doesn’t share Iowa values, and that he would be a dangerous choice. The photo of Grassley onstage with Trump says just the opposite. If Trump is OK with Grassley, well, what’s the problem?