The Trump campaign is alleging that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis paid a substantial sum, reaching six figures, to secure the endorsement of influential Iowa figure Bob Vander Plaats.
Vander Plaats, the president and CEO of The Family Leader, wields considerable influence in Iowa’s evangelical circles and officially threw his support behind DeSantis as the Iowa Caucus on January 15 approaches.
Expressing his enthusiasm for endorsing DeSantis, Vander Plaats took to social media, stating, “Thrilled to endorse @RonDeSantis for President of the United States,” accompanied by the hashtag “#ChooseWell2024.”
In an interview with Fox News, Vander Plaats emphasized the importance of having a president who surrounds themselves with top talent and fulfills their promises.
DeSantis, acknowledging the endorsement, highlighted its significance in engaging Iowa’s faith community in crucial battles.
He tweeted, “His support tells Iowans they can trust me to fight and win for them,” alongside a photo of the two leaders beaming with smiles. DeSantis sees Iowa as a crucial starting point for America’s revival.
However, the Trump campaign dismissed the endorsement, questioning its authenticity and suggesting financial motivations. The official response stated, “Over 150 faith leaders in Iowa are organizing their congregations for President Trump, and not a single one demanded nearly $100K like Bob Vander Plaat$ did from Ron DeSantis.” The campaign emphasized that true leaders, like President Trump, garner support without financial incentives.
Furthermore, the campaign downplayed the significance of another endorsement, that of Governor Kim Reynolds, asserting that neither Reynolds nor Vander Plaats could salvage DeSantis’s candidacy.
The reference to Reynolds is due to her recent endorsement of DeSantis as the preferred leader for the party against President Joe Biden in the upcoming election.