In response to 2024 Republicans convening in Iowa today for a cattle call with far-right extremist Bob Vander Plaats, DNC National Press Secretary Sarafina Chitika released the following statement: 

“Nikki Haley and Ron DeSantis are spending their day desperately trying to win the endorsement of Bob Vander Plaats, a far-right extremist whose pro-Putin, sexist, racist views should be condemned by any serious candidate for president. Vander Plaats’ FAMiLY Leader ‘Thanksgiving Family Forum’ wouldn’t be welcoming to many American families, including those with women serving in the armed forces and Americans who categorically reject the notion that slavery was beneficial to Black families. If voters had any doubt, today Republican candidates are showing they’ll stoop to any low to win over the extreme MAGA base.”

Vander Plaats wanted presidential candidates to sign a pledge that suggested being born into slavery was more pro-family for Black children than in modern day.

HuffPost: “The pledge is titled ‘The Marriage Vow: A Declaration of Dependence upon MARRIAGE and FAMILY’ (emphasis in the original), and what follows is pretty standard-issue Christian conservative rhetoric on the definition of marriage and the sanctity of same, but it comes with a fiscal twist that basically makes it clear that Vander Plaats does not cotton to the notion that social issues can be divorced from economic concerns. … For what it’s worth, here’s my favorite part: ‘Slavery had a disastrous impact on African-American families, yet sadly a child born into slavery in 1860 was more likely to be raised by his mother and father in a two-parent household than was an African-American baby born after the election of the USA’s first African-American President.’”

Politico: “The pledge caused some consternation earlier this year, due to some language about slavery being more of a pro-family climate for African-Americans in the preamble of the document.” 

Vander Plaats also embraced racist ideology when he shamefully promoted the birtherism conspiracy perpetuated by Donald Trump.

ThinkProgress: “FAMiLY LEADER President Bob Vander Plaats repeatedly suggested that President Obama was born in Kenya during a May 2010 event in Glenwood, Iowa. In video obtained by ThinkProgess, Vander Plaats is seen praising Donald Trump for launching an investigation into the origins of his birth certificate. ‘What kind of leader wouldn’t just show the birth certificate?’ Vander Plaats asked just days before Obama released the long-form of the document. ‘[Trump] is more and more convinced that this guy is born in Kenya,’ he said. 

“VANDER PLAATS: If I’m Obama, which I’m not. I’ve got a birth certificate — which means I’m more prepared to be President than he is, for a lot of reasons.”

Vander Plaats is an anti-abortion extremist who is pushing for a national abortion ban in addition to outlawing abortion pills and taking away women’s freedoms through a constitutional amendment.

New York Times: “[Vander Plaats] said, ‘There’s a lot of ways to determine a person’s bona fides when it comes to the sanctity of human life, but I guarantee you the Texas ruling will be discussed.’ The issue of abortion, he said, ‘will be a cornerstone issue in the Iowa caucuses. It will be a cornerstone issue in the Republican primary.’”

Vander Plaats after Roe v. Wade was overturned: “Iowa’s legislature needs to pass legislation to protect life at conception, as well as the Protect Life Amendment to our state constitution to ensure state courts do not repeat the deadly mistake made in Roe v. Wade, for we recognize that even though we are celebrating today, today is only the beginning. The right to life is not a matter that should be left to individual states but an inalienable right that should be ingrained in our nation’s constitution, character, and culture.

Vander Plaats after Ron DeSantis and Kim Reynolds signed extreme abortion bans: “Joining @RonDeSantisFL is #Iowa @IAGovernor Kim Reynolds in leading on life. The #IowaCaucus door just flung wide open.”

Des Moines Register: “Panelists also suggested that Republican leaders discuss restrictions on abortion pills. Dannenfelser called the existence of mifepristone and other medications used to induce abortions ‘the biggest threat to our success,’ and Vander Plaats — invoking the Iowa caucuses as the place ‘where crazy ideas get birthed’ — proposed regulating the drugs. ‘We’re smart enough to regulate the abortion pill, understand who’s getting it and how they’re getting it,’ Vander Plaats said. ‘Require them to (package) the abortion reversal pill with (the abortion pill).’”

Vander Plaats once asked presidential candidates to sign a pledge that called for the removal of women soldiers from combat roles and recognized that “robust childbearing and reproduction” maintains America’s health and security.

Politico: “In a year when pledges have become all the rage for Republican presidential primary candidates, The Family Leader’s Marriage Vow seems to be falling flat. The pledge is causing more problems for the two candidates who have signed than for those who have refused, giving an opening to complaints that the conservative Christian group may have tried to go too far. The 14-point vow asks each candidate to pledge ‘personal fidelity’ to his or her spouse, to remove female soldiers from combat roles and to recognize that ‘robust childbearing and reproduction’ maintains America’s health and security. It also calls for acknowledgment that ‘children raised by a mother and a father experience better learning, less addiction, less legal trouble and less extramarital pregnancy.’ And it requires those who sign it to fight prostitution, pornography and Sharia law.”

And Vander Plaats is an anti-LGBTQ+ extremist who has not only railed against same-sex marriage as an “infiltrat[ion],” but also praised dictator Vladimir Putin for his persecution of the LGBTQ+ community in Russia. 

Vander Plaats: “The Iowa State Bar Association, they’ll tell me, they’ll say ‘Bob, this is only one opinion. It’s only one opinion. You can’t be that upset at a court because of one opinion.’ One opinion: Dred Scott. Blacks are property. One opinion: Roe v. Wade. We’ve killed 60 million babies off of a court’s opinion. One opinion: the Varnum opinion, and you are now seeing same-sex marriage infiltrate this state.”

Vander Plaats: “[Putin] has taken what used to be our strengths — military might, decisive action, core values, morality, beliefs — and he’s saying, those are being turned into your guys’ weakness and guess what I’m doing? I’m taking those. I’m taking decisive leadership, you’re following my lead. As a matter of fact, Obama’s now agreeing with Putin, ‘oh you know maybe we’ve got some other options here now.’ So he’s taking Putin’s lead. Putin’s saying, ‘you know what don’t bring this homosexual propaganda into my country for the Olympics; we believe in one man, one woman marriage; there is no homosexual marriage in Russia.’”

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