The following column appeared in its entirety in the Oct. 22, 2020, edition of USA Today Online under the title, “Why faith voters should stick with Trump: Christian leaders of character surround him.” Opinions expressed herein are the opinions of Bob Vander Plaats and do not constitute an endorsement of any candidate by The FAMiLY Leader.
When he visited my state of Iowa earlier this month, Vice President Mike Pence reminded me why, despite misgivings about Donald Trump’s character and conduct, especially on Twitter, I will vote for President Trump in this election.
When voting for a president, we vote for so much more than just the candidate. We vote for a vision for America, for policy positions, for the kinds of judges that will be appointed, and — more than we realize — we vote for the people who will fill out the administration and make many of the decisions that impact our lives.
This year, Vice President Pence, Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson all came to events in Des Moines hosted by The FAMiLY Leader. They expressed their Christian faith and their confidence in the American people to solve many of our nation’s woes by turning to our neighbors to help them, instead of turning to government mandates to control us.
People around Trump are doing good
Among other examples, I would point to Secretary Ben Carson’s “Mustard Seed Series” — in which the government is working with churches to create affordable housing and reduce homelessness — as an example of the positive impact the people around President Trump have on America.
“We cannot alleviate poverty through the efforts of the federal government alone,” Carson explains. “There are so many faith-based organizations serving vulnerable communities successfully, and we want to share these successes with other faith-based organizations who are already so dedicated to a posture of service.”
These leaders of high character and conviction are in key positions of impact today because President Trump placed them there and because Americans voted for Trump the first time.
By contrast, both former Vice President Joe Biden and his running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris, separately refused invitations to make their case to The FAMiLY Leader’s audience when campaigning in Iowa prior to the Iowa caucuses. Their silence and refusal to engage this faith community, representative of millions of Americans, spoke and continues to speak volumes.
So who would Biden place in positions of power in his administration?
As pointed out in the vice presidential debate, a Biden administration would replace Vice President Pence’s principled leadership with Vice President Harris, rated by GovTrack.us as the “most liberal” and most partisan member of the U.S. Senate.
At the same debate, Harris pledged she would “always fight” for legal abortion, while Pence declared, “I don’t apologize” for being pro-life and standing for “the sanctity of human life.”
Pence also stood firm during the debate for Israel and for religious liberty, while noting Harris had “attacked” a Trump judicial nominee during his confirmation hearing for being a member of the Catholic Knights of Columbus, which holds to its church’s positions on life and marriage.
Biden-Harris has the real chaos vision
I look at the people around former Vice President Biden — Sen. Harris, Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — and I just see a very different vision for America, one laden with taxes, government regulation, restricted freedoms, extremist abortion positions, and radical environmental policies.
In contrast, recently I had the opportunity to listen to Sarah Huckabee Sanders, President Trump’s former press secretary, at a joint speaking engagement. She reminded us of the difference between the reports of “chaos in the White House” and actual chaos. Chaos is when terrorists threaten our lives. Chaos is when businesses close and jobs are lost due to burdensome taxes and regulations. Chaos is when unborn children are prevented from breathing their first breath. Chaos is when protesters burn up our cities. Chaos is when rioters shout slurs at the police and soldiers who protect us. Chaos is when politicians threaten to pack the Supreme Court to get the rulings they want.
It’s true, President Trump seldom reflects the desired fruits of the Spirit. However, President Trump listened and made his case to the faith community, kept his promises to the faith community, and surrounded himself with key leaders of the faith community.
Voting for president is more than a vote for the man; it’s a vote for people like Carson, Pence, and Pompeo. That really does make a difference, and for me, it’s more than enough to vote Trump in 2020.
Bob Vander Plaats is president and CEO of The FAMiLY Leader, a non-profit organization that encourages Christians to engage with government. Follow him on Twitter: @bobvanderplaats