Social conservative leaders seek to halt Trump’s momentum
With less than a week until the first votes are cast, a group of social conservative leaders are targeting Republican frontrunner Donald Trump — and warning Iowans that the billionaire “cannot be trusted.”
In an open letter sent to Iowa voters on Tuesday, a number of those leaders, including Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser, Concerned Women for America President Penny Nance, and former congresswoman Marilyn Musgrave, write, “As pro-life women leaders from Iowa and across the nation, we urge Republican caucus-goers and voters to support anyone but Donald Trump.
“On the issue of defending unborn children and protecting women from the violence of abortion,” they add, “Mr. Trump cannot be trusted and there is, thankfully, an abundance of alternative candidates with proven records of pro-life leadership whom pro-life voters can support.”
The decision to send the letter comes amid mounting alarm from Trump’s rivals that he’s gaining ground in Iowa. Appearing before a group of Iowa pastors on Monday, Ted Cruz, who has aggressively courted evangelicals and is in a competitive battle with Trump in the state, openly acknowledged that Trump may win Iowa – and if he does, he’ll be difficult to stop.
This week, Cruz and several super PACs supporting him begin running TV commercials calling into question Trump’s conservative credentials and highlighting past statements in which he’s described himself as “pro-choice.” The commercials are designed to halt the billionaire’s momentum among evangelicals, a crucial segment of Iowa Republicans.
In a boost to Trump, Jerry Falwell Jr. endorsed the real estate mogul on Tuesday, calling him “a successful executive and entrepreneur, a wonderful father and a man who I believe can lead our country to greatness again.” Trump also boasted on Tuesday morning about a new poll showing that he has 37 percent support among evangelicals, nearly double Cruz’s 20 percent.
However, in the letter, the pro-life leaders point to recent remarks in which Trump heaped praise on Scott Brown, a pro-choice former Massachusetts senator. They also highlight Trump’s comments in which he said his sister, circuit court Judge Maryanne Trump Barry, who struck down a partial birth abortion ban in New Jersey, would be a good choice to sit on the Supreme Court. And they highlight what they describe as derogatory Trump remarks about Republican rival Carly Fiorina and Fox News host Megyn Kelly.
“Moreover, as women, we are disgusted by Mr. Trump’s treatment of individuals, women, in particular,” they write. “He has impugned the dignity of women, most notably Megyn Kelly, he mocked and bullied Carly Fiorina, and has through the years made disparaging public comments to and about many women.”