An influential Christian evangelical figure in a key state delivered a stern warning to Donald Trump ahead of next year’s battle for the Republican presidential nomination.
“I believe Iowa will rise up,” Bob Vander Plaats, head of the Iowa-based Family Leader, told The Blaze host Steve Deace. “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.”
On Jan. 15, Iowa will hold its caucuses, the first contest in the 2024 presidential campaign.
Vander Plaats endorsed Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis last week, which triggered a tirade by Trump on his Truth Social website. The former president called it a “useless endorsement” and accused him of “scamming candidates.”
Over the weekend, Vander Plaats fired back by calling Trump a “chump” and making a “golden showers” reference. On Monday, he said Trump’s character is being revealed ― and voters have noticed.
“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 said. “That’s a big deal.”
Iowa evangelical leader Bob Vander Plaats BLASTS Trump's character: "The number one 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." pic.twitter.com/sEIGXIajYx
— Republican Accountability (@AccountableGOP) November 27, 2023
Vander Plaats says he has never endorsed Trump, although he did write an op-ed in October 2020 encouraging Christians to back him.
This year, however, he has been increasingly critical of the former president, calling him out over the summer for “F bombs and mocking people with disabilities.”
He’s also predicted before that Iowa could be a make-or-break state for Trump.
“Iowa is tailor-made to upend Trump,” Vander Plaats said in September. “If he loses Iowa, there’s a competitive nomination process. If he wins Iowa, I think it’s over.”