In a significant development ahead of the 2024 Republican presidential nomination race, influential Christian evangelical figure Bob Vander Plaats has delivered a stern warning to former President Donald Trump, urging him to reconsider his candidacy.
Vander Plaats, the head of the Iowa-based Family Leader, a prominent evangelical organization, expressed his concerns about Trump’s leadership and character during an interview with The Blaze host Steve Deace. He emphasized that Iowa, the first state in the presidential primary calendar, will play a crucial role in determining Trump’s fate.
“I believe Iowa will rise up,” Vander Plaats stated. “I believe Iowa will send a message on January 15 cuz I think they’re seeing through this as well. This is smoke and mirrors. This is not leadership our country needs.”
Vander Plaats’ comments come in response to Trump’s recent attacks on him following his endorsement of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis for the Republican presidential nomination. Trump had dismissed Vander Plaats’ endorsement and accused him of “scamming candidates.”
Vander Plaats responded by calling Trump a “chump” and making a reference to the infamous “golden showers” allegation, highlighting the escalating tensions between the two figures.
Expanding on his criticism of Trump, Vander Plaats pointed to the former president’s behavior and character as key factors in his decision to support DeSantis.
“The No. 1 hurdle for Donald Trump is I’ve never met a dad or a mom or a grandpa or grandma who have told me they want their son or daughter or grandchild to grow up to be like him,” he asserted. “That’s a big deal.”
Vander Plaats clarified that he has never officially endorsed Trump, despite writing an op-ed in 2020 encouraging Christians to support him. However, he has grown increasingly critical of Trump in recent months, particularly over his use of profanity and mocking of people with disabilities.
Vander Plaats’ prediction that Iowa could be a make-or-break state for Trump’s candidacy adds another layer of intrigue to the upcoming Republican primary race. If Trump fails to secure a victory in Iowa, it could signal a significant setback for his aspirations and open the door for other candidates to gain momentum.
Overall, Vander Plaats’ stern warning to Trump reflects the growing skepticism within the evangelical community about the former president’s suitability for another term in office. His decision to back DeSantis instead suggests a shift in support among a key demographic within the Republican Party.
As the 2024 presidential race heats up, the dynamics within the Republican Party, particularly among evangelical voters, will continue to be closely watched. Vander Plaats’ intervention could serve as a wake-up call for Trump and his supporters, forcing them to address the concerns raised about his leadership and character.