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Casey and Ron DeSantis play cleanup over Iowa caucus remarks

Casey and Ron DeSantis play cleanup over Iowa caucus remarks
Casey and Ron DeSantis play cleanup over Iowa caucus remarks 00:32
Casey DeSantis speaks about her husband, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, at an Iowa GOP reception on May 13, 2023, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Joseph Cress/USA Today Network/Sipa

West Des Moines, Iowa (CNN) — Casey and Ron DeSantis are seeking to clarify comments the Florida first lady made on Friday that appeared to encourage out-of-state voters to participate in the Iowa caucuses.

"We're asking all of these moms and grandmoms to come from wherever it might be, North Carolina, South Carolina and to descend upon the state of Iowa to be a part of the caucus, because you do not have to be a resident of Iowa to be able to participate in the caucus. So, moms and grandmas are going to be able to come and be a part and let their voice be heard in support of Ron DeSantis," Casey said, in a side-by-side interview on Fox News with her husband ahead of a "Mamas for DeSantis" event in West Des Moines.

After the Fox News appearance, Casey DeSantis clarified on X that by participating in the Iowa caucuses, she didn't mean voting.

"While voting in the Iowa caucus is limited to registered voters in Iowa, there is a way for others to participate. I'm calling on mamas and grandmamas from all over the country to come volunteer in support of Ron DeSantis in the Iowa caucus," she posted with a link for people to register to participate.

Speaking to reporters after the event, the Florida governor denied that his wife was encouraging people to illegally vote in the January 15 caucus, as some Trump-aligned users were suggesting on X.

Reached for comment, a spokesperson for the DeSantis campaign said that he had already answered the question in detail.

"We really appreciate Casey and everything she's doing, as well as Gov. Reynolds. They are launching nationwide recruitment for people who are about to come from the Mamas' movement to volunteer for the caucus," Ron DeSantis told reporters before taking questions.

"Obviously, you can't vote in the caucus, but you can help with it. They even let people go and speak on behalf of candidates, and they have all these precincts, so you may have people who really can speak strongly about our leadership that are going to come."

One reporter asked Ron DeSantis about his wife's calling on out-of-staters to descend upon Iowa, to which he responded: "Not to caucus. It's to volunteer, to help. You can actually speak at a caucus, but voting is only for registered Republicans in Iowa. But it is interesting that you can have somebody come, like from Florida, who we've made an impact on their lives. They can go to a precinct and speak on behalf of me during the caucus, and that's pretty — that's an interesting way to do it."

The Trump campaign seized on the comment, accusing the DeSantises of embracing voter fraud.

"We demand the Governor of Iowa Kim Reynolds clarify what the rules are and that the instructions given by the DeSantises are flagrantly wrong that could further disenfranchise caucus-goers. Even the Republican Party of Iowa had to immediately issue a response to the DeSantises wrong information," the campaign said in a statement on Saturday.

"The Trump campaign strongly condemns their dirty and illegal tactics and implores all Trump supporters to be aware of the DeSantises' openly stated plot to rig the Caucus through fraud."

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