(Photo: AP Images / Alex Brandon)
While business mogul Donald Trump tests the waters in Iowa and New Hampshire, a noted evangelical says the “Apprentice” star needs a compelling narrative to draw voters.
A top aide of “The Donald” visited Iowa Monday to gauge the level of interest for a presidential run. Michael Cohen, Trump’s executive vice president and the ShouldTrumpRun.com co-creator, flew aboard one of Trump's two planes to Des Moines to speak with state Republicans.
“We do understand that Iowa is the first stop if anyone is interested in the presidential election. Certainly ... we are very anxious to learn about Iowa and be able to report back to Mr. Trump when he hopefully decides to run in June," Cohen told Reuters.
Prior to the visit, Trump’s website revealed that the business icon has been rounding up volunteers there and in New Hampshire. He also appeared to be ironing out some issues for a possible stump speech. In a series of webcasts, he discusses the decline in America’s reputation, charging foreign countries for U.S. military protection and trade relations.
However, Bishop Harry Jackson, Jr., says Trump needs to give Republicans a strong story that shows he’s serious about the race.
“I think he still has to do a ‘fire-in-the-belly’ stump speech,” he told The Christian Post.
Trump ignited talk of a presidential run during the 2011 Conservative Political Action Conference. There, he told the audience he would announce in June whether he would run for president. Since then, the real estate mogul has given a number of interviews.
Last week, New York gay activist Allen Roskoff called Trump “an extreme bigot” for stating in a February television interview that he was against gay marriage and civil unions. Trump revealed that he is also pro-life.
Roskoff denounced Trump for pandering to conservative voters and called for a boycott in On Top magazine.
Jackson, a CPAC 2011 speaker and pastor of Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, Md., praised Trump’s embrace of the socially conservative agenda.
“Those statements mean he can be looked at by a broader amount of conservatives and evangelicals,” he shared.
Still, Jackson insisted that he needs a narrative to draw voters to him. In one of his “From the Desk of Donald Trump” podcasts, Trump seems to have part of a story down.
“There’s a lot going on in my life, but the most important thing is really putting out my view on the country,” Trump says. “I’ve made a lot of money, I’ve been very successful, but there’s something that is so much more important than what we’ve been doing.”
Many of Trump's videotaped discussions, however, rabble from one topic to another. Jackson believes Trump needs to give voters more to compensate for his lack of political knowledge. “A lot of people are going to question the celebrity and the credentials,” he insisted.
Trump’s website suggests people are interested in his campaign. A poll asking should Donald Trump enter the 2012 presidential race revealed that 67 percent of the nearly 30,000 respondents said yes. Equally, 66 percent said of the respondents said they would vote for him.
However, a Gallup poll released last month shows Trump is ranked at the bottom of the presidential candidate list. He is tied with declared candidate Herman Cain with less than 1 percent of the vote.
Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee led in the most recent Gallup poll with 18 percent of the 1,326 Republican and Republican-leaning independent responders. Other polls also show that Huckabee, a Southern Baptist, is also popular among evangelical voters. Palin and Romney both trailed behind Huckabee with 16 percent each.
Cain and possible presidential contenders, including former House of Representatives Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, were also in Iowa to address the Faith and Freedom Coalition.