GOP White House hopeful Will Hurd booed off stage for saying Trump is running to stay out of prison

‘Donald Trump is not running for president to make America great again’

Andrea Blanco
Saturday 29 July 2023 20:14 BST
GOP presidential hopeful booed off for claiming Trump is running to stay out of prison

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Louise Thomas

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GOP presidential candidate Will Hurd was booed by a crowd after he accused Donald Trump of running for office for a third time in a desperate attempt to avoid prison.

Mr Hurd made the anti-Trump remarks at the 2023 Lincoln Dinner hosted by the Iowa Republican Party on Friday. The 45-year-old former Texas representative and CIA officer became one of the few Republican presidential candidates to publicly criticize Mr Trump over the litany of legal troubles the former president is currently facing.

“Donald Trump is not running for president to make America great again, Donald Trump is not running to represent the people who voted for him in 2016 and 2020, Donald Trump is running to stay out of prison,” he told the 1,200-people crowd in Des Moine. “Listen, I know the truth is hard. But if we elect Donald Trump we are willingly giving Joe Biden four more years in the White House and America can’t handle that.”

Amid booing from the audience, Mr Hurd went on to wrap up his speech and get off stage. But despite the crowd’s audible reaction as evidence of Mr Trump’s hold on the Republican party, Mr Hurd has since doubled down on his stance.

“I went to Iowa and told the truth. Some folks didn’t like it and some did. If you want to see a leader on the debate stage telling the truth to Trump’s face, give me at least $1 to qualify,” he wrote in a tweet linking to his campaign’s website.

Thirteen candidates, including Mr Trump, former vice-President Mike Pence and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, are running in the Republican primaries for the highest office in the country. They all gave 10-minute speeches at the dinner on Friday.

Mr Trump took the stage as the lyrics “One could end up going to prison/one just might be president” from Brooks & Dunn’s song “Only in America” played.

“There’s only one candidate, and you know who that candidate is, to get the job done,” Mr Trump told the cheering audience, according to POLITICO.

While Mr Hurd commended Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds for “growing the GOP in areas where people didn’t expect,” Mr Trump accused Ms Reynolds of owing him for her seat — following Ms Reynold’s refusal to endorse any candidate ahead of the state’s caucuses.

The Iowa caucuses, the first in the country, are expected to take place in mid-January 2024.

However, only those who meet certain donation and polling thresholds will be able to attend the Republican presidential primary debate in August. Currently, Mr Trump is leading the polls, with 69 per cent of GOP voters in favour of Mr Trump as the strongest nominee in the 2024 election, according to a Monmouth University poll.

Mr Trump has been charged in two separate criminal cases. In New York, he is facing a 34-count indictment over allegations that he falsified business records when making hush money payments before the 2016 presidential election.

He was indicted over his handling of classified documents on leaving the White House and is being investigated at the federal level for his role in the January 6 Capitol riot and his efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election in his favour.

In Georgia, a local district attorney is also investigating Mr Trump’s role in attempting to overturn the election in the state.

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