Bob Vander Plaats, the Iowa Religious Right activist who leads the group The Family Leader, said in a radio interview last week that he’s urging religious leaders with access to President-elect Donald Trump to remind him that he was only elected because of divine intervention and he therefore must not do things that “are outside of God’s design.”
(During the campaign, Trump attacked Vander Plaats, who had endorsed his rival Sen. Ted Cruz, as a “total phony,” “con man” and “bad guy” who was only out to make money).
In a December 20 appearance on the “Steve Deace Show,” Vander Plaats told guest hosts Aaron McIntire and Todd Erzen that based on his private conversations with Trump he believes the president-elect is “legitimately still searching” spiritually and “very much intrigued about us as people of faith.”
Trump needs to understand, he said, that “he did not win this election” but instead benefited by the last-minute interference of God, who sent churchgoers to the polls:
What happened was, I really believe God intervened, the people of the church mobilized and because of that Trump was able to win. So, to me, when you understand that, as a person of faith, when you understand, ‘Hey, I didn’t do this but God did this,’ now all of a sudden it allows you a great degree of humility and a great degree of ‘I’m now leading for Him and for His purpose, God’s purpose, not me and my purpose.’ It completely changes everything. Now, I’m not saying that Donald Trump gets that yet but I think key people that surround him need to keep reminding him, ‘You were placed in position for such a time as this. Now, we’re going to stand by you, we’re going to encourage you, but we’re also going to challenge you if you’re doing things that are outside of God’s design.’
Vander Plaats added that Trump has told him “that he has accepted Christ as his savior” and he is working to ensure that Trump makes “Jesus the Lord of his life.”
Asked what The Family Leader will be working on in 2017, Vander Plaats said that the group would be working to pressure Trump to name someone to the Supreme Court with “exceptional pro-life credentials and street cred,” saying that his first choice for the job would be Cruz.
While Cruz was not on either Supreme Court shortlist that Trump released during his campaign, Vander Plaats said that “there would be celebration in the streets” if he were to be chosen, as well as “probably some rioting in the streets.”
He said that his group would also be working to pressure Trump to keep his campaign promise to repeal the Johnson Amendment, which restricts politicking by tax-exempt groups including churches, and working at the state level to pass radical anti-choice “personhood legislation.” Vander Plaats also praised Trump’s pick of Betsy DeVos, a major donor to Religious Right groups, to be secretary of education.