GOP Presidential Candidates Skip Iowa Minority-Focused Forum

GOP Presidential Candidates Skip Iowa Minority-Focused Forum

A majority of Republican presidential candidates declined to participate in the nation’s oldest minority-focused presidential forum, forcing its cancellation

Almost every Republican presidential candidate has declined to attend what is believed to be the nation’s oldest minority-focused presidential forum, forcing its cancellation.

NBC News reports that since 1984, Wayne Ford has organized the Iowa Brown and Black Presidential Forum, an event focusing on issues of significance during a presidential year, including crime, education and employment. It provides a platform for presidential candidates to tailor their message to communities of color.

Ford, a former Democratic state representative, said he was collaborating with Iowa republican leaders to put on the event this year but only Democratic candidates have participated so far.

Ford believed this year might be different due to gains the GOP have made in minority communities, but organizers canceled the event this year due to a low number of participants.

“We’ve reached out to the Republican Party—whether it was Bush, Reagan, it didn’t matter. We always reached out to both parties,” Ford said. “Over the years, we started recognizing that Republicans were not coming but, Democrats were. I’m disappointed that as of today, we still have not done a Republican forum from the presidential level.”

Ford, with the support of Iowa GOP Chair Jeff Kaufmann, began sending invitations to every Republican presidential candidate except former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, whom indicated he would not attend.

While former President Donald Trump, Nikki Haley, and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis have held numerous campaign events in the state in the last several months, the only candidate who committed to the event was Ryan Binkley, who told NBC News he accepted the invitation because he “recognized the deep need for reconciliation in our nation, not just politically, economically, but certainly racially.”

Trump campaign spokesperson Steven Cheung suggested the former president would decline all events that would put him on a stage with other candidates.

Kaufmann told NBC News the cancellation of the event was “unfortunate.”

“Republicans have always been fierce champions of free speech and the fair exchange of ideas, and I applaud my good friend and Iowa political trailblazer Wayne Ford for attempting to provide another platform to facilitate debate and discussion,” Kaufmann said.

Democratic candidates who have attended in the past include President Joe Biden, former President Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Al Gore, and Jesse Jackson.

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