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Former President Donald Trump attacked a retiring House Republican on Friday and touted his endorsement of a primary rival in the district as the cause.
In a statement, Trump said Ohio Rep. Anthony Gonzalez will retire because of his “ill-informed and otherwise very stupid impeachment vote against the sitting President of the United States, me.”
Trump, who backed Max Miller, one of his former aides in the primary, said Miller has his “Complete and Total Endorsement.”
Gonzalez announced Thursday evening he would not seek reelection to the House next year, telling the New York Times that threats faced by his family since his impeachment vote and his disillusionment with the Republican Party contributed to the decision.
He said a primary against Miller would have been “brutally hard,” but he believes he could have won reelection.
“Politically, the environment is so toxic, especially in our own party right now,” Gonzalez told the New York Times. “You can fight your butt off and win this thing, but are you really going to be happy? And the answer is, probably not.”
Gonzalez, one of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump after the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, backed much of Trump’s agenda while he was in office. But Gonzalez said the riot was “a line-in-the-sand moment” for him, and he sees the former president as “a cancer for the country.”
“I don’t believe he can ever be president again,” Gonzalez said. “Most of my political energy will be spent working on that exact goal.”
Trump has endorsed several of his allies as primary challengers to congressional Republicans who voted to impeach him. In Michigan, he endorsed state Rep. Steve Carra in his bid to unseat Michigan Rep. Fred Upton, first elected in 1986. And in Washington state, Trump is backing Republican Joe Kent, who is running against Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler. He also endorsed Republican Kelly Tshibaka, who is challenging GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski in Alaska.
Last week, Trump endorsed Harriet Hageman in her primary challenge to Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, another House Republican who voted to impeach him. Cheney was ousted from her leadership position as conference chairwoman in May after criticizing Trump for his unfounded claims of election fraud.
On Twitter, Cheney hit back at Trump over his attack on Gonzalez, writing that the statement came on Constitution Day, which she said was a reminder “once again, that Trump is at war with the Constitution.”
Cheney is vice chairwoman of the select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.
Trump has also made almost 40 endorsements in down-ballot races against Republican officials who did not back his claims of election fraud after the 2020 election in states, including Georgia and Arizona.
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Original Author: Kate Scanlon
Original Location: Trump gloats over retirement of pro-impeachment House Republican