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Former President Donald Trump reportedly tried to send a U.S. senator to be a surrogate for him at an event in Iowa he is skipping this week but was rejected by the leader of the organization behind the event.
Trump is skipping THE FAMiLY LEADER event on Friday, hosted by Blaze Media and Tucker Carlson, because he has a “scheduling conflict” involving a speech Trump is supposed to give at the Turning Point Action conference over the weekend near Mar-a-Lago. It’s worth noting that Carlson will be at both events.
Bob Vander Plaats — who is an influential evangelical leader in the state of Iowa and the President and CEO of The FAMiLY Leader, said this week that he was informed that Trump would not attend the event where his top challenger, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, is set to appear.
New York Times reporter Jonathan Swan said that Trump later reached out to Vander Plaats and tried to send U.S. Senator J.D. Vance (R-OH) in Trump’s place and that the request was denied.
“Team Trump reached out to Bob Vander Plaats earlier today and requested to send Senator JD Vance to Friday’s event as a surrogate for Trump,” said Swan. “Vander Plaats denied the request.”
Swan later received a text message from Vander Plaats in which the Iowa leader confirmed his reporting.
“Yes, they did reach out to me and graciously offered JD Vance as a surrogate for President Trump,” Plaats wrote. “Our policy has always been to decline surrogates or video presentations for our Summits. The Trump representative accepted and appreciated our rationale.”
Vander Plaats texts: "Yes, they did reach out to me and graciously offered JD Vance as a surrogate for President Trump. Our policy has always been to decline surrogates or video presentations for our Summits. The Trump representative accepted and appreciated our rationale."
— Jonathan Swan (@jonathanvswan) July 12, 2023
The news comes as senior Trump advisor Jason Miller said this week that “President Trump has indicated that he’s unlikely to participate” in the Republican Party primary debates.
“It really wouldn’t make much sense for him to go and debate right now with a bunch of folks who are down at three, four, and five percent,” Miller continued.
“So ultimately, President Trump will make a decision as we get closer,” he concluded. “He has not said anything definitive, one way or the other. I’m not expecting him to participate, though.”
DeSantis told Fox News last week that he will be at the debate regardless of whether or not Trump shows up.
“I’ll be there, regardless,” DeSantis asserted. “I hope everybody who is eligible comes. I think it is an important part of the process, and I look forward to being able to be on the stage and introducing our candidacy and our vision, and our leadership to a wide audience.”