Iowa conservative leader slams 2020 Dems turning down Christian event

The leader of an influential conservative Iowa Christian group on Monday slammed Democratic presidential candidates who declined a summit invitation, telling NBC News that the move suggests they only want to be “president for a piece of America.”

2020 Democratic White House hopefuls South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegScaled-back Pride Month poses challenges for fundraising, outreach Biden hopes to pick VP by Aug. 1 It’s as if a Trump operative infiltrated the Democratic primary process MORE and Sens. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerRand Paul introduces bill to end no-knock warrants Black lawmakers unveil bill to remove Confederate statues from Capitol Harris grapples with defund the police movement amid veep talk MORE (N.J.) and Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisRand Paul introduces bill to end no-knock warrants The Hill’s Campaign Report: Biden campaign goes on offensive against Facebook McEnany says Juneteenth is a very ‘meaningful’ day to Trump MORE (Calif.) said they will not attend a July summit organized by Bob Vander Plaats, president and CEO of the socially conservative group The Family Leader.


“The message it sends is they want to run for president for a piece of America, not for all of America,” Vander Plaats told NBC. “When they’re sending a vision of unity, we’re offering a chance to discuss unity in a civil and safe environment and have a good conversation about it. We think we’re providing a great opportunity. Obviously it’s their choice.”

Vander Plaats, who served as national co-chair for Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote The Hill’s Morning Report – Trump’s public standing sags after Floyd protests GOP senators introduce resolution opposing calls to defund the police MORE’s (R-Texas) 2016 presidential campaign, led a successful campaign to vote out three Iowa Supreme Court justices who ruled in favor of same-sex marriage in 2010. In 2012, the group called on all Republican presidential candidates who wanted support from the organization to sign a pledge opposing same-sex marriage and supporting bans on pornography and abortion.

“I cannot — in good conscience — attend an event put on by an organization that preaches bigotry and sows hate against the LGBTQ community,” Booker tweeted Monday. 

Buttigieg, who is gay, initially said he was considered attending the summit, but on Sunday his campaign confirmed it would also decline, according to NBC News.

“We keep an open mind to the invitations that we receive,” Buttigieg press secretary Chris Meagher said. “We will be declining this invitation.” They joined former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, who had previously said he would not attend, and Harris, who confirmed Monday she would not.

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