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Trump Rips Evangelical Leader For 'Scamming Candidates' After DeSantis Endorsement—And Yeah, That Is Rich

Donald Trump; Bob Vander Plaats
Michael Gonzalez/Getty Images; Jim Vondruska/Getty Images

Donald Trump accused Bob Vander Plaats of 'scamming candidates' on Truth Social after the evangelical leader endorsed Ron DeSantis for president.

Former President Donald Trump was mocked online after he accused evangelical leader Bob Vander Plaats of "scamming candidates" on Truth Social after Vander Plaats endorsed Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis, Trump's 2024 opponent.

Trump labeled Vander Plaats a "former High School Accountant from Iowa" who is more adept at swindling candidates than securing victories. Trump dismissed Vander Plaats' credibility, accusing him of disseminating disinformation borrowed from the Democrats and ridiculing his endorsement of a candidate whom Trump claimed is "going nowhere."

Trump wrote:

“Bob Vander Plaats, the former High School Accountant from Iowa, will do anything to win, something which he hasn’t done in many years. He’s more known for scamming Candidates than he is for Victory, but now he’s going around using Disinformation from the Champions of that Art, the Democrats.”
“I don’t believe anything Bob Vander Plaats says. Anyone who would take $95,000, and then endorse a Candidate who is going nowhere, is not what Elections are all about!”

You can see his post below.

Screenshot of Donald Trump's post on Truth Social@realDonaldTrump/Truth Social

Vander Plaats' endorsement of DeSantis came amidst a surge of support for the Florida governor, especially following Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds' backing just two weeks prior. Vander Plaats emphasized the significance of DeSantis's leadership, attributing the so-called "red wave" in Florida and Iowa's political landscape to DeSantis's "bold" and resolute governance.

In response to Vander Plaats' endorsement, Trump's campaign derided the Iowa evangelical leader, insinuating financial motivations behind the endorsement and asserting that genuine support for Trump doesn't demand monetary transactions:

“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 DeSanctus. When you are actually the leader of a movement like President Trump is, people are willing to support you for free."
“Kim Reynolds’ endorsement won’t save Ron DeSanctus, and neither will Vander Plaat$’ endorsement."

But the notion that Vander Plaats was "scamming" people was rich coming from Trump, who has been under multiple investigations for alleged financial crimes and for his efforts to overturn the 2020 election based on lies he has continued to parrot for fundraising purposes.

People immediately criticized Trump and called out his hypocrisy.

Vander Plaats later said that Trump "is the only candidate" he's interacted with who "thought [his] endorsement was for sale," adding:

"And, Iowa will exhibit higher standards when they choose [DeSantis] over a Chump."

Despite Vander Plaats' endorsement, DeSantis is well behind Trump in national polling for the Republican presidential race as the countdown to the January 15 Iowa caucuses—marking the official start of the 2024 primary season—enters its final 50-day stretch.

A recent poll released by The Washington Post/Monmouth University shows that Trump still holds a commanding lead at 46 percent. Former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley has secured a strong second position, standing at 18 percent.

DeSantis, once considered a significant contender, finds himself in fifth place with only 7 percent support, behind former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy, who are polling at 11 percent and 8 percent respectively.

In Iowa, the most recent DesMoines Register poll shows Trump at 43% with Nikki Haley and Ron DeSantis well behind in second place at 16%.

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