Former President Donald Trump revealed Sunday how he plans to target those Republicans who supported his second impeachment.
When the House formally impeached Trump in January, charging him with “incitement of insurrection,” 10 House Republicans joined their Democratic colleagues in supporting the effort, including Rep. Liz Cheney (Wyo.), the No. 3 House Republican.
The trend continued at Trump’s Senate trial. Trump was acquitted because Senate ultimately fell short of the 67-vote threshold, but seven Republicans voted “guilty.”
What did Trump say?
Speaking at the Conservation Political Action Conference in Florida, Trump blasted his intraparty opponents and said he would actively campaign against them.
“I’m announcing that I will be actively working to elect strong, tough, and smart Republican leaders,” Trump said, to which the crowd responded with chants of “USA! USA! USA!”
In fact, Trump claimed that RINOs — an acronym meaning “Republicans In Name Only” — will “destroy the Republican Party and the American worker and will destroy our country itself.”
“Now more than ever is the time for tough, strong, and energetic Republican leaders who have spines of steel. We need strong leadership. We cannot have leaders who show more passion for condemning their fellow Americans than they have ever shown for standing up to Democrats, the media, and the radicals who want to turn America into a socialist country,” Trump said.
“Instead of attacking me and more importantly the voters of our movement, top establishment Republicans in Washington should be spending their energy in opposing Biden, Pelosi, Schumer, and the Democrats,” Trump declared.
Whom will Trump target?
The former president went on to name specifically which Republican politicians he will campaign against.
The Democrats don’t have grandstanders like Mitt Romney, little Ben Sasse, Richard Burr, Bill Cassidy, Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, Pat Toomey, and in the House, Tom Rice [of] South Carolina, Adam Kinzinger, Dan Newhouse, Anthony Gonzalez. That’s another beauty. Fred Upton, Jaime Herrera Beutler, Peter Meyer, John Katko, David Valadao.And of course the warmonger, a person that loves seeing our troops fighting, Liz Cheney. How about that? The good news is in her state, she’s been censured, and in her state, her poll numbers have dropped faster than any human being I’ve ever seen. So hopefully they’ll get rid of her with the next election.
“Get rid of them all,” Trump declared.
Despite Trump claiming the Republican Party is unified, the GOP currently could not be more divided between those who believe Trump should continue leading the party and those who want Trump gone.
The divide was illustrated during a press conference with GOP leadership last week.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) was asked whether Trump should be CPAC’s keynote speaker — in a speech that Trump planned to solidify his power hold over the GOP — to which McCarthy responded with resounding affirmation. “Yes, he should,” McCarthy said.
Then it was Cheney’s turn to answer.
“I don’t believe that he should be playing a role in the future of the party or the country,” Cheney said of Trump.
McCarthy responded by abruptly ending the press conference. “On that high note, thank you very much,” he said.