DES MOINES, Iowa — Iowa Senator Joni Ernst, after she finished hosting eight Republicans who hope to serve as the next president had some advice for them after they left. She wants them to talk about ideas for the future, not problems they have with the past.

Ernst said that former president Donald Trump still has a strong following but she added, “We don’t want to hear what has happened in the past because we’ve had two years of the Biden administration that is destroying our nation.”

Ernst’s annual Roast and Ride fundraiser was the largest in-person gathering of presidential hopefuls in Iowa so far in the 2024 campaign cycle. Former vice president Mike Pence, former U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley, former Arkansas governor Asa Hutchinson, U.S. Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, business executive Vivek Ramaswamy of Ohio and businessman Perry Johnson of Michigan all had the chance to speak before about 1,000 Iowans at Ernst’s event.

Trump declined an invitation to appear. Ernst didn’t criticize Trump for not coming. She said that he hasn’t appeared in person at multi-candidate events like hers.

Ernst had told Trump in 2016 that she wasn’t interested in serving as his vice president. Asked after her Roast and Ride event if she is interested in serving as any of the 2024 presidential candidates’ vice presidents, she didn’t say yes or no.