The observations try to bind DeSantis to his precedent support efforts to eliminate the Renewable Fuel Standard, which requires oil refineries to blend a minimum volume of renewable fuel into the nation’s transportation fuel each year.
It’s a recurring political playbook in the influential corn state, one that resurfaced between Trump and President Joe Biden during the 2020 election campaign and emerged with Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who won the Iowa caucus in 2016.
“I fought for Iowa ethanol like no president in history and ethanol, full stop, like no president,” Trump said on Friday.
The remarks put Trump’s record under the microscope during his time in the Oval Office. Trump has earned praise from biofuel advocates for his move to expand year-round sales of fuel blends with 15 percent ethanol, known as E15, which he highlighted in Friday’s remarks, although the effort was ultimately overturned by a federal appeals court.
Despite several meetings on the matter, Trump has left the White House without working out an agreement on politically difficult decisions on biofuel policy.
« Now [DeSantis] he’ll come in here and probably say, « I’m actually quite pro-ethanol. » I think it’s wonderful,’” Trump said. « One thing about a politician, … when they have their initial thoughts, that’s what they come back to. »
DeSantis’ press secretary Bryan Griffin said the former president’s remarks on Friday aren’t the first and likely won’t be the last to « twist » the governor’s record, but said DeSantis is the candidate who shares the values of Iowans.
« As president, Ron DeSantis will be a champion for farmers and will use every tool available to open new markets, » Griffin said in a statement.
Monte Shaw, executive director of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, said DeSantis’ previous attempts to override the Renewable Fuel Standard aren’t an automatic disqualification in the state, where ethanol policy is often seen as a « differentiator » during caucuses GOP chiefs. Iowa voters have « open minds » — as evidenced by Cruz’s success in the campaign despite his opposition to the ethanol mandate, which was « nuanced », Shaw said.
« I don’t find many Iowans who care what a congressman did 10 years ago representing a district in another state, » he said, adding that voters are more interested in learning about his national energy policy now.
He noted that DeSantis has taken steps Iowa farmers might appreciate, pointing to his recent veto of a bill it would be “a de facto mandate” for electric vehicles.
The former president launched a « Farmers for Trump » coalition on Friday in a statement touting his support for accessing new markets for ethanol and vowing to reverse the Biden administration’s « disastrous policies » on day one. stating he would reverse any Biden policy that “brutalizes” farmers — adding that Biden is trying to “kill” Iowa ethanol and replace it with electric cars.
Trump has also promised to allow ethanol to be exported around the world.
« President Trump has proven to be the most pro-farmer president in our nation’s history, » said Iowa State Representative Mike Sexton in a statement accompanying the launch of Farmers for Trump, which Sexton co-chairs.
But during his tenure in the Oval Office, Trump’s EPA actions on setting blending requirements under the Renewable Fuels Standard have sometimes been condemned by corn state lawmakersfarmers and biofuel producers, including issuing exemptions for oil refineries, which further distinguished the divide between the oil and biofuel industries.
Before his remarks, Shaw called Trump’s record on ethanol a mixed bag, with the former president’s support for the expansion of tax credits for carbon capture and sequestration a positive development that has led to new multibillion-dollar projects in Iowa, but noting that its passage of refinery exemptions has dramatically reduced demand for biofuels.
“There are a lot of ethanol advocates and farmers that I talk to who definitely have mixed emotions on his track record when it comes to biofuels,” Shaw said. “There have been some very good things. There have been a few things that have caused a lot of economic hardship for our industry. So if it comes out and focuses on renewable fuels, we really want it to have a clear message about looking forward, not just the past. »