- Former congressman Will Hurd was effectively booed off stage for criticizing Trump.
- Hurd tore into the former president at the end of a speech in front of Iowa Republicans.
- The crowd made clear their displeasure with Hurd’s claim that Trump ‘is running to stay out of prison.”
Former Congressman Will Hurd on Friday received a very vocal reminder of former President Donald Trump’s stranglehold on the Republican Party.
Hurd, who is running for the GOP presidential nomination, did something few of his fellow challengers would do in going after the former president by name at the Iowa Republican Party’s Lincoln Day Dinner, a major fundraiser and cattle call for candidates.
“Donald Trump is not running for president to represent people that voted for him in 2016 and 2020,” Hurd said. “Donald Trump is running to stay out of prison.”
The boos were loud enough to be heard clearly on the live stream of the event. Inside the room, they were even more palpable.
“If you’re wondering what happens when Republican presidential candidates attack Donald Trump directly in Iowa… Exhibit A,” The Des Moines Register’s chief politics reporter Brianne Pfannenstiel wrote on X — the platform previously known as Twitter.
Shortly after Hurd delivered his line, he wrapped up his speech as the boos continued.
Trump’s legal troubles have received renewed attention in the wake of a superseding indictment that added additional charges to special counsel Jack Smith’s probe of Trump’s mishandling of classified documents. The former president has denied any wrongdoing.
Hurd represented Texas in the US House for three terms. At the time he was the only Black Republican in the House. He has torn into Trump throughout his campaign, which has struggled to make a mark on the national stage. Hurd is not expected to qualify for the first Republican presidential primary debate next month, which requires candidates to meet polling and donation thresholds. Candidates must also pledge to support the nominee.
Trump had yet to address Iowa Republicans when Hurd attacked him. Former Vice President Mike Pence, who has publicly broken with the former president, had spoken before the crowd earlier in the evening. Pence said that the event was not the time for candidates to discuss their differences.
“Thank Will, you just made it very easy for me,” Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, who followed Hurd, joked. “It’s good to come in off a boo.”
Iowa is home to the first-in-the-nation caucuses, where actual voting for the GOP presidential nomination will begin in less than six months.