Controversial Remarks and Backlash at 2023 Lincoln Dinner by GOP Presidential Candidate

The 2023 Lincoln Dinner hosted by the Republican Party of Iowa brought together thirteen GOP presidential candidates who made their pitches for the 2024 primaries. The event took place in Des Moines, Iowa, and provided an opportunity for the candidates to address donors and local party leaders ahead of the crucial caucuses in the state.[0] However, one candidate, Will Hurd, faced backlash and boos from the crowd after accusing former President Donald Trump of running for office in 2024 “to stay out of prison.”[1]

Hurd, a former Texas congressman, positioned himself as a moderate candidate in the race.[1] His remarks about Trump drew strong reactions from the audience.[1] He stated that if Trump were elected, it would result in Joe Biden having four more years in the White House, which he claimed America couldn’t handle.[2]

Despite the negative response, Hurd held his ground, emphasizing that it was important for elected leaders to speak the truth, even if it was unpopular.[3] He reiterated that Trump’s motivations for running were not to make America great again or represent his supporters but to avoid going to prison.

Trump himself addressed the crowd, indirectly referencing his legal issues and stating that if he were not running, he would have nobody coming after him.[1] He also criticized his top-polling GOP rival, Ron DeSantis, saying he wouldn’t take a chance on him.

The event also featured other Republican candidates, including former Vice President Mike Pence, who implicitly questioned Trump’s suitability for future office but avoided direct criticism.[2] Nikki Haley, the former governor of South Carolina, was the first candidate to address the audience.[0]

The Iowa Lincoln Dinner brought together the major GOP candidates, providing a rare occasion for them to share the same stage. Trump, who often avoids multicandidate events, joined a dozen other hopefuls in speaking to Republican members and activists. However, he has hinted that he may skip the first Republican presidential debate on Fox News, considering his significant lead in the polls.[4]

The event in Des Moines marked an important milestone in the race for the GOP nomination, with Iowa’s first-in-the-nation caucus less than six months away.[5] The format of the speeches allowed each candidate ten minutes to make their case to the audience.

Hurd’s contentious remarks and the subsequent backlash highlight the divisions within the Republican Party. The 2024 primaries are shaping up to be a heated contest, with candidates vying for support and seeking to differentiate themselves from their rivals. As the race continues, it remains to be seen how these dynamics will unfold and ultimately impact the outcome of the nomination process.

0. “Trump, DeSantis and top Republican candidates share stage at Iowa event – as it happened” The Guardian US, 28 Jul. 2023,

1. “Trump shares stage with Republican rivals amid mounting legal woes” Al Jazeera English, 29 Jul. 2023,

2. “Will Hurd gets boos for taking on Trump indictments at Iowa GOP dinner” Des Moines Register, 29 Jul. 2023,

3. “WATCH: GOP presidential candidate, Trump critic Will Hurd booed off stage at Iowa event” Fox News, 29 Jul. 2023,

4. “Trump shows in Iowa he still rules the GOP – despite his deepening criminal peril” CNN, 29 Jul. 2023,

5. “Trump, DeSantis finally appear at same campaign event, but only 1 dares to attack” Global News, 29 Jul. 2023,

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