In conversations with attendees at Family Leadership Summit in Des Moines, Iowa, the Boston Globe's James Pindell found plenty of evangelicals who approved of Donald Trump's four years in office after voting for him, but want him to stay out of the 2024 presidential race.
With Trump making rumblings about running once again after losing to President Joe Biden, Pindell wrote that he talked to 15 self-admitted Trump voters and not a single one expressed any interest in voting for the one-term president again.
Calling the Iowa conference the official kick-off for the 2024 GOP presidential campaign, the report makes clear that Trump doesn't figure in anyone's plans as a candidate.
According to Pindell, "...as some 1,200 evangelicals gathered here for the Family Leadership Summit, widely seen as the first political event on the long road to the 2024 Republican primary, there was a feeling among some that it was time to move on."
And by "move on," one attendee said he means away from Donald Trump.
"I agree with pretty much everything Trump did on policy as president, but I don't think it would be good for him or good for the country if he ran again," explained retiree Ken Hayes who admitted that he prayed daily for Trump.
Hayes comments were echoed by others with Pindell writing that he didn't talk to anyone who thought a third Trump presidential run would be a good idea.
"To be sure, there was plenty of praise for Trump, and more than a few attendees said they have his back as he continues to make baseless claims about the 2020 election," he wrote before reporting, "But in interviews with 15 people at the conference, all of whom voted for Trump, none said they hoped the former president would run again."
58-year-old Cheryl Prall politely suggested, "I am interested in who comes next."
According to 55-year-old Mary Bloom, she believes that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from Trump but also thinks it's time to look forward and not backward.
"It is what it is and we all need to move on to the next election" she explained.
Ronald Forsell, the Republican Party chair in Dallas County, also wants to put 2020 in the rearview mirror, stating: "A lot of the people I'm talking to sort of realize that 2020 happened and we need to focus on 2024 if we're going to get anything done, because worrying about the past isn't going to help."
Pindell goes on to report that Trump has never been the top pick at the conference, writing, "Despite his popularity with evangelicals, Trump initially did not win over the voting bloc here in 2016. Instead, this network of pastors and homeschooling parents helped give Iowa Caucus victories to Texas Senator Ted Cruz over Trump in 2016, and before that to former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee in 2008 and former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum in 2012."
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