A leader in Iowa’s evangelical Christian community was part of a national telecast billed as “An Honest Discussion About A Difficult Election.” Bob Vander Plaats, the president and CEO of The Family Leader, said he will not endorse Donald Trump, but plans to vote for him.
“This is what I said to Mr. Trump when I was in his office…It was mid-June. I said: ‘Mr. Trump, I’m going to be a friend to you. I’m going to be a real friend. I’m not going to be a lapdog and tell you that everything you do is great. When you do wrong, I’m going to tell you…and when you do right, I’m going to cheer you on,'” Vander Plaats said.
However, Vander Plaats told the audience that as the father of a profoundly disabled 23-year-old son, he was shaken to his “core” when Trump publicly mocked a disabled reporter.
“We’re having a tough conversation tonight,” Vander Plaats said. “The choices are hard. We’re honest about this.”
Vander Plaats was an Iowa delegate at this summer’s Republican National Convention and cast his convention vote for Trump in Cleveland.
Vander Plaats told last night’s audience it’s time for Christians to focus on their own faith and steer the country toward a spiritual “revival.”
“I think for too long we have put our hope into political candidates and into political parties,” Vander Plaats said.
Vander Plaats and three others spoke on last night’s panel. Two are pastors in Orlando and Washington, D.C. and both said they’d vote for Trump rather than Hillary Clinton because of policy reasons. The third panelist worked in former President George W. Bush’s White House and told the audience a President Trump would endanger the republic, so he’s voting for third party candidate Evan McMullin.
Vander Plaats and the others agreed that many Christians are struggling with how or even why to vote this year. The event was held in a Florida church and organizers said “thousands” were watching live on the internet or their smart phones.