(NEW YORK) — Several GOP presidential candidates have come out in support of Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds after former President Donald Trump attacked her on social media for staying “neutral” and not endorsing him in the crucial early-voting state.
Trump’s criticism followed a New York Times article detailing both his team’s frustration with the popular Iowa governor for not solely supporting his run — and Reynolds’ growing bond with Trump’s biggest primary rival, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
Reynolds has said she doesn’t plan to endorse any specific GOP candidate ahead of Iowa’s first-in-the-nation caucuses. “I’ve made it clear, I will be happy to help introduce you, help travel the state, connect in any way that I can,” she said in February.
On Monday, Trump took to his social media platform, Truth Social, to claim he helped boost Reynolds’ own career but now, because she wasn’t endorsing him, he was distancing himself from her.
“I opened up the Governor position for Kim Reynolds, & when she fell behind, I ENDORSED her, did big Rallies, & she won,” Trump wrote. “Now, she wants to remain ‘NEUTRAL.’ I don’t invite her to events!”
Reynolds won her first election as governor in 2018 by nearly 3 points and won her reelection, in 2022, by just over 18 points.
On Twitter on Monday, DeSantis defended Reynolds without directly attacking the former president.
“Kim Reynolds is a strong leader who knows how to ignore the chirping and get it done. She earned a landslide reelection because she delivered big results, and she is poised to deliver even more for Iowans in the special session,” he wrote.
Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, another GOP candidate, who served as an ambassador to the U.N. under Trump, likewise called Reynolds a “conservative rockstar” who has delivered for Iowans.
“Like I always say, Iowa grows strong women!” Haley wrote on Twitter.
Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, a vocal Trump critic, was the only major Republican presidential candidate to call out Trump himself, writing in a tweet that no one should be attacked for not endorsing in a race, calling the former president’s behavior “dictatorial.”
“I applaud Kim Reynolds for welcoming all GOP candidates into Iowa,” Hutchinson wrote on Twitter. “America deserves better than Donald Trump.”
In an interview with CNN, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum defended Reynolds and pushed back against claims that she’s favoring DeSantis.
“She is doing a great job being neutral,” Burgum said.
Some members of Iowa’s congressional delegation have responded to Trump’s social post about Reynolds, too.
Republican Rep. Ashley Hinson tweeted Monday that “Iowa is lucky to have the best governor in the country!”
“We’re fighting alongside Kim Reynolds every single day to push back against Biden’s radical agenda and fire him in 2024!” Hinson wrote.
According to a source on Hinson’s team, while she tweeted in response to Trump’s post, “It’s not an attack against the former president but Ashley feels strongly that Gov. Reynolds has done an incredible job leading Iowa and believes any attack on her … is unwarranted.”
Reynolds’ office has not responded to ABC News’ request for comment. One of Iowa’s senators, Republican Joni Ernst, has not commented, however, Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley said that Reynolds was doing an “outstanding job” when asked by reporters.
ABC News’ Libby Cathey, Abby Cruz, Lalee Ibssa, Will McDuffie and Kelsey Walsh contributed to this report.
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