DNC Statement on Bob Vander Plaats’ Endorsement of Ron DeSantis

In response to far-right extremist Bob Vander Plaats’ endorsement of Ron DeSantis, DNC National Press Secretary Sarafina Chitika released the following statement: 

“Bob Vander Plaats’ endorsement is the ultimate kiss of death for Ron DeSantis’ sinking campaign and guarantees DeSantis will never be the Republican nominee. There is truly no one in politics with a worse endorsement record. Vander Plaats’ endorsement should come as no surprise – both he and DeSantis share the same desire to ban abortion and rip away freedoms from millions of women. They both promoted the insulting idea that slavery somehow benefited Black families. With today’s endorsement we can all rest easy – there’s one less candidate in the GOP race for the nomination.” 

DeSantis and Vander Plaats have both faced immense backlash for promoting the shameful idea that slavery somehow benefitted Black families.

Washington Post: “Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is intensifying his efforts to de-emphasize racism in his state’s public school curriculum by arguing that some Black people benefited from being enslaved and defending his state’s new African American history standards that civil rights leaders and scholars say misrepresents centuries of U.S. reality.

“‘They’re probably going to show that some of the folks that eventually parlayed, you know, being a blacksmith into doing things later in life,’ DeSantis said on Friday in response to reporters’ questions while standing in front of a nearly all-White crowd of supporters.”

Politico: “New Florida teaching standards say African Americans received some ‘personal benefit’ from slavery”

The Root: “GOP Candidates Court Iowa Faith Leader Who Implied Slavery Was Better Than Single-Parenthood”

“In 2011, Vander Plaat’s group, The Family Leader, released a… questionable pledge for Republican primary candidates to sign. … The ‘Marriage Vow’ included a bizarre list of demands that managed to be anti-woman, anti-LGBTQ+ people, and anti-Black.”

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.” 

DeSantis and Vander Plaats are both anti-abortion extremists who are pushing for a national abortion ban.

Tucker Carlson: “You signed a ban on abortion after six weeks in Florida. Would you do the same as president, nationally?”

DeSantis: “Well, I’m very proud to say Kim Reynolds is here and she signed a great heartbeat bill today. We were able to do that in Florida. We had a lot of opposition to that. I’m proud to have been a pro-life governor and I will be a pro-life president, so of course I want to sign pro-life legislation.”

New York Times: “DeSantis Says He Would Sign a 15-Week Abortion Ban as President”

ABC News: “In an easily missed moment during Wednesday night’s chaotic GOP presidential primary debate, Gov. Ron DeSantis said he would sign a federal 15-week abortion ban.”

Radio Iowa: “On Saturday at the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition event, you said as president, you would support abortion restrictions at the state and the federal level. Would you sign the nationwide 15-week ban that the Faith and Freedom Coalition supports?” 

DeSantis: “So I’ve said from the beginning of this, as president, you put pro-life legislation on my desk, I’m going to look favorably and support the legislation.”

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.’”

Washington Post: “Vander Plaats emphasized on Friday, however, that he hopes to see a Republican president advance national restrictions.”

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).’”

DeSantis has used his powers as governor to attack LGBTQ+ youth, and Vander Plaats is an anti-LGBTQ+ extremist who has railed against same-sex marriage as an “infiltrat[ion]” and praised Putin for his persecution of the LGBTQ+ community in Russia. 

NBC News: “Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed four bills Wednesday restricting LGBTQ rights, including a measure that expands what critics have called the state’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law and another that will ban transition-related care for minors.”

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.’”

Vander Plaats 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.”

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.”