Stepping up his efforts to knock Republican Rep. Liz Cheney out of Congress, former President Trump on Thursday took sides in the House GOP primary in Wyoming, giving his support to one of the candidates hoping to defeat Cheney in next year’s election.
The former president endorsed Harriet Hageman hours before the Wyoming lawyer’s formal announcement of candidacy, writing in a release put out by his political action committee that “Harriet is all in for America First.”
And Trump slammed Cheney, the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney who is running for a fourth term representing the entire state of Wyoming in the House, as “RINO,” which stands for “Republican in name only.”
Cheney, a longtime vocal GOP critic of Trump, was the most senior House Republican to vote to impeach the then-president on a charge of inciting the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol by right-wing extremists and other Trump supporters, who aimed to disrupt congressional certification of Trump’s presidential election defeat to now-President Biden.
Cheney immediately came under verbal attack by Trump and his allies, but in February she easily crushed an effort by Trump loyalists in the House to dump her from her leadership position as House Republican Conference Chair.
Trump continued to target Cheney, as well as the other nine House Republicans who voted to impeach him and the seven GOP senators who voted to convict the now-former president in his impeachment trial in February. And in May she was ousted from her No. 3 House GOP Republican leadership position.
Cheney has been very vocal in emphasizing the importance of defending the nation’s democratic process, and in May gave a well-covered speech in the House chamber about putting love and defense of the country above partisan politics. She’s currently one of only two Republicans serving on a special committee organized by House Democrats to investigate the insurrection at the Capitol.
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Cheney, who has followed in her father’s footsteps as a strong advocate for a muscular U.S. national security and military stance overseas, was called a “warmonger and disloyal Republican” by Trump in his statement.
And Trump pilloried Cheney as “the Democrats number one provider of soundbites.”
Firing back on Twitter, the congresswoman wrote “Here’s a sound bite for you: Bring it.”
Trump, in his statement, praised Hageman’s positions on border enforcement, crime, gun rights and what he termed “Election Integrity.”
Hageman, who ran unsuccessfully for governor in 2018, is a former Cheney supporter and adviser who donated to the congresswoman’s past campaigns.
In a Facebook posting ahead of her formal announcement, Hageman wrote that she’s “running for Congress because I am a Deep-Rooted Wyomingite who is sick of being misrepresented in Washington. We need a Tough Conservative to stand up against (House Speaker) Nancy Pelosi, not help her divide Republicans.”
FILE – In this May 16, 2018, file photo, Harriet Hageman addresses a meeting of the Wyoming Business Alliance in Casper, Wyo. Former President Donald Trump has chosen Hageman, a favored candidate in his bid to unseat Rep. Liz Cheney, one of his most vocal critics. That’s according to a person familiar with his decision who spoke on condition of anonymity ahead of a formal announcement (AP Photo/Mead Gruver, File)
FILE – In this May 16, 2018, file photo, Harriet Hageman addresses a meeting of the Wyoming Business Alliance in Casper, Wyo. Former President Donald Trump has chosen Hageman, a favored candidate in his bid to unseat Rep. Liz Cheney, one of his most vocal critics. That’s according to a person familiar with his decision who spoke on condition of anonymity ahead of a formal announcement (AP Photo/Mead Gruver, File) (AP)
She now becomes to latest candidate to join a large field of contenders running to defeat Cheney in next year’s primary.
Trump for months has worried about the possibility of multiple Republican candidates dividing the anti-Cheney vote in the primary, potentially allowing Cheney to once again win her party’s nomination.
“The easiest way to defeat Deplorable Liz Cheney is by having only ONE Conservative candidate run and WIN!” Trump emphasized in a July statement.
Trump and his team are now going to try and convince the other candidates already in the race to drop out.
“We look forward to unifying the entire MAGA movement behind her campaign,” a source close to the former president’s political team told Fox News.
Cheney, in a statement, touted her “strong conservative record.”
And she noted that she looks “forward to an extended public debate about the importance of the rule of law and the solemn duty of elected officials to uphold their oath to the Constitution. It is tragic that some in this race have sacrificed those principles, and their duty to the people of Wyoming, out of fear and in favor of loyalty to a former president who deliberately misled the American people about the 2020 election, provoked an attack on the U.S. Capitol, and failed to perform his duties as president as the violence ensued.”
Besides Cheney, Trump’s also endorsed primary challengers to at least three other House Republicans who voted to impeach the then-president.
And he’s also backed a primary challenger against Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, the only one of the seven Senate Republicans who joined all the Democrats in the chamber in voting to convict Trump of the impeachment charges in the Senate trial. The former president was acquitted in February when the Senate fell 10 votes shy of the 67 needed to convict Trump.