Donald Trump and Jeb Bush will skipp this year’s Presidential Family Forum in Des Moines, an event hosted by the conservative Christian group the Family Leader, says National Public Radio.
Bob Vander Plaats, their leader, is seen as an evangelical kingmaker in Iowa that annual host this Presidential Family Forum. Vander Plaats says that this Republican candidates reunion is set to reveal their “character”. According to the same source, Plaats has a history in supporting Iowa Caucus winners, with names like former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum in 2012 and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee in 2008 on the list, so most likely it would be a mistake for any candidate to refuse the Presidential Family Forum.
The conditions for Trump’s arrival weren’t met
Regarding Trump’s absence, Plaats said that the businessman offered some conditions. “He would like for me to guarantee my endorsement to go to him, and obviously he would show up. And I like Mr. Trump a lot, because the one thing I really value about Mr. Trump is he’s very candid, he’s very authentic, and he’s very real. So I appreciate that about him of saying, ‘I’m gonna go to another event if I can’t guarantee your endorsement'”.
Asked about this situation, Trump’s campaign spokesperson said he had already an engagement in South Carolina. He’s scheduled to campaign in Spartanburg, S.C., midday Friday, and in Birmingham, Ala. the next morning, confirms National Public Radio.
The candidates will be ‘soul-searched’
Seven Republican candidates will be present on Friday at the Presidential Family Forum, with conservative political consultant Frank Luntz as moderator. According to the same source, the format for the dinner will consist in a soul-searching discussion with a heavy focus on faith. “That’s when we know what does a candidate really believe? What’s inside their heart?”, said Vander Plaats.