Former President Donald Trump endorsed a Republican primary challenger to Ohio Rep. Anthony Gonzalez, one of the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach him for the second time in January.
Trump on Friday endorsed Max Miller, a former White House aide challenging the second-term Republican, whose district lies just south of Cleveland. It is the first endorsement the former president has given to a challenger vying to unseat any of the Republicans who voted for impeachment.
“Current Rep. Anthony Gonzalez should not be representing the people of the 16th District because he does not represent their interest or their heart,” Trump said in a statement. “Max Miller has my Complete and Total Endorsement!”
Miller, 32, worked on Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign before joining his administration. He served as Trump’s deputy campaign manager for presidential operations during his unsuccessful reelection bid.
“I’m running for Congress to stand up for Northeast Ohioans,” Miller wrote on Twitter. “Their congressman betrayed them when he voted to impeach President Trump.”
Gonzalez said that he voted to impeach Trump as a result of his role in inciting the Capitol riot.
“The President of the United States helped organize and incite a mob that attacked the United States Congress in an attempt to prevent us from completing out solemn duties as prescribed by the Constitution,” Gonzalez said. “When I consider the full scope of events leading up to January 6th including the President’s lack of response as the United States Capitol was under attack, I am compelled to support impeachment.”
Trump has told his advisors that he will try to unseat the Republicans who voted to impeach him and others in the party who seek to separate it from him. He is set to speak at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Sunday, where he is expected to criticize Joe Biden’s presidency and speak about the future of the Republican Party.
Several senior GOP lawmakers, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, House Minority Whip Steve Scalise and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, have already met with Trump in Florida to discuss the 2022 and 2024 elections. All three said that they expect the former president to play an outsized role in the party and its elections up and down the ballot.
Many state legislatures have censured other Republicans who supported Trump’s impeachment, and Trump has already endorsed political allies for other prominent posts. He endorsed former Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who is running to be Arkansas’ next governor, and Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran in his reelection.