Iowa GOP cancels Lincoln dinner fundraiser (updated)

Donald Trump’s decision not to run for president put the Republican Party of Iowa in an awkward position, because he was supposed to keynote the party’s June 10 Lincoln dinner fundraiser. While Iowa GOP officials waited to hear whether Trump would keep his promise, even WHO television reporter Dave Price (a favorite among conservatives) couldn’t get a call back seeking comment. The state party finally got the bad news today and released this statement:

Earlier today the Iowa GOP was informed that Mr. Trump will not attend and keynote the June 10 Lincoln Dinner. Citing Mr. Trump’s unique appeal and the close proximity to the event, the Iowa GOP has decided to cancel the 2011 Lincoln Dinner.

Iowa GOP Chairman Matt Strawn issued the comment below following Mr. Trump’s decision to cancel his appearance at the Lincoln Dinner.

“In Iowa, your word is your bond. We are disappointed that Mr. Trump has chosen not to honor his commitment to Iowa Republicans.”

I know three weeks isn’t a lot of time, but I’m surprised party leaders couldn’t find some other well-known Republican to step up at the last minute. The Iowa GOP probably has already incurred printing and other expenses related to renting the Polk County Convention Complex for the event. Now money collected for record ticket sales will have to be refunded.

Maybe Iowa Republicans are better off not hitching their wagon to that horse, though. People with an unfavorable view of Trump greatly outnumber those who view him favorably, according to several recent national polls.

UPDATE: How bizarre.

On Friday, apparently stung by criticism from the spurned Iowans, Trump offered to travel to Iowa and speak if the Republicans would change their minds and hold the dinner.

“I promise you that my speech will be fantastic. My word is my bond,” he wrote to Matt Strawn, chairman of the Iowa Republican Party. […]

The state party’s response was essentially thanks, but no thanks. […]

“Iowa Republicans have moved on,” is all party spokesman Casey Mills had to say Friday afternoon.

A Trump aide released a copy of the letter, in which the tycoon said he had thought it would be inappropriate for him to give the speech once he decided not to run for president.

“I truly believe that this honor should be given to one of the other candidates or potential candidates, who could use this invaluable opportunity to get their word out,” he wrote. “I was very surprised and saddened to read that you canceled the event, and hence, called you immediately to let you know that if you wanted me to be there, I would be ready, willing and able.”

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