Trump blasts GOP Rep. Anthony Gonzalez, who voted for impeachment, as ‘a grandstanding RINO’ and ‘a disgrace’ to Ohio

Donald Trump
Former President Donald Trump speaks at a rally at the Lorain County Fairgrounds in Wellington, Ohio on June 26, 2021.

  • Trump blasted GOP. Rep. Anthony Gonzalez for his impeachment vote following the Jan. 6 riot.
  • The former president gave a speech in support of Max Miller, a former White House aide running against the congressman.
  • Trump derided Gonzalez as “the candidate of Liz Cheney.”
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When the House impeached former President Donald Trump for his role in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, 10 Republicans crossed over to join Democrats in the highly consequential vote.

Rep. Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio, a two-term lawmaker who represents a conservative Midwestern district, was one of those Republicans.

Trump has not forgotten about the vote.

The former president, who held a rally in Wellington, Ohio, not far from Cleveland, has already backed former White House aide Max Miller in the GOP primary over Gonzalez in the state’s 16th Congressional district.

On Saturday, Trump made it clear that he was willing to go all-out for Miller as he seeks political vengeance against party members that he deems as “RINOs,” or Republicans in name only, a pejorative generally reserved for members of the party who aren’t considered to be true conservatives.

The former president laced into Gonzalez, a 36-year-old congressman and ally of Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, another Republican who backed Trump’s second impeachment and who was stripped of her leadership role for vocally fighting back against his false election claims.

Read more: We identified the 125 people and institutions most responsible for Donald Trump’s rise to power and his norm-busting behavior that tested the boundaries of the US government and its institutions

Trump called Gonzalez “a grandstanding RINO” who’s “not respected in DC” and rebuked the congressman’s vote for what he calls “the unhinged, unconstitutional illegal impeachment witch hunt.”

“I didn’t get to know him too well,” the former president said of Gonzalez, accusing the congressman of repeatedly asking to fly on Air Force One during his presidency.

“I put him on the plane [Air Force One]. The next time I heard his name, he was impeaching me!” Trump said. “He’s a sellout, he’s a fake Republican and a disgrace to your state. He’s not the candidate that you want representing the Republican Party. … Every single Republican needs to vote him out of office.”

Trump derided Gonzalez as “the candidate of Liz Cheney.”

Before Cheney was removed from her leadership post as Conference Chair, Gonzalez told The Hill in April that if House Republicans couldn’t accept her honesty, then she wasn’t the most suitable person for the role.

“If a prerequisite for leading our conference is continuing to lie to our voters, then Liz is not the best fit,” he said at the time. “Liz isn’t going to lie to people. Liz is going to say what she believes. She’s going to stand on principle. And if that’s going to be distracting for folks, she’s not the best fit. I wish that weren’t the case.”

In the end, Trump’s loyalists continue to run the House GOP apparatus, which continues to give the former president the upper hand within the party.

“After he voted for impeachment, the Ohio GOP censured Gonzalez and demanded that he resign and resign immediately,” the former president said on Saturday. “He’s still hanging in there. Every single Republican needs to vote him out of office.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

Trump had an ‘Apprentice’-like meeting with Ohio GOP Senate candidates at West Palm Beach golf club: report

Trump
Former President Donald Trump and former first lady Melania Trump at the Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach.

  • Trump had an “Apprentice”-like meeting with four Ohio GOP Senate candidates.
  • The candidates all did their best to prove their loyalty to the former president.
  • A potential endorsement from Trump could give a candidate an enormous edge among GOP voters.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Former President Donald Trump may be far from his old New York boardroom, but on Wednesday he gave four Ohio GOP Senate candidates the type of grilling famously depicted on his long-running reality television series “The Apprentice,” according to Politico.

Before a fundraiser at his golf club in West Palm Beach, Florida, Trump had the candidates – former state Treasurer Josh Mandel, former state GOP Chairwoman Jane Timken, investment banker Mike Gibbons, and businessman Bernie Moreno – sit together for a backroom meeting.

The four Republicans are set to run for Ohio’s open Senate seat in 2022, which will be vacated by two-term GOP Sen. Rob Portman at the end of his term.

The candidates were all in Florida to attend the event for Max Miller, a Trump-backed candidate who is seeking to unseat GOP Rep. Anthony Gonzalez in a primary and win the general election in Ohio’s heavily-Republican 16th Congressional District.

Gonzalez was one of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump in February for “incitement of insurrection” for his role in the January 6 Capitol riot.

As the candidates were speaking with guests during the pre-dinner reception, one of Trump’s aides informed the candidates that the former president wanted to speak with them privately.

When everyone was assembled together, the meeting devolved into a 15-minute free-for-all of attacks and statements given to prove fealty to the former president, according to the report.

Read more: A Trump-appointed prosecutor blindsided the Biden DOJ with a ’60 Minutes’ interview on the Capitol riot cases. Now a federal judge wants to talk about it.

Mandel, who previously ran for the Senate in 2012 and was defeated by Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown, reportedly said he was “crushing” Timken in the polls, while Timken boasted of her grassroots support while leading the state party.

Gibbons reminded Trump of his donations to the former president’s campaign, while Moreno stated that his daughter was a part of Trump’s 2020 campaign team.

With Trump planning to play an active role in the 2022 midterm elections, an endorsement could put the race away for a particular candidate, and they are all openly competing with each other for the former president’s support.

One person familiar with the meeting told Politico that the event was like “The Hunger Games,” the dystopian trilogy of books and feature films; the candidates also had to sit at a circular table facing each other.

When Trump asked the group how the race was going, Timken mentioned discussed her work to reelect the former president.

Trump responded by pointing out that Timken had initially backed Gonzalez after the congressman voted to impeach him, which led Timken to say that she “cleaned” her stance by later calling on the congressman to resign, according to the report.

However, another individual familiar with the meeting said that Trump was just “teasing” Timken over her previous comments about Gonzalez.

The biggest source of tension was reportedly between Timken and Mandel, who have already launched their campaigns, while Gibbons and Moreno haven’t formally started their respective campaigns yet.

Mandel made a strong push for his candidacy, saying that he “hired a bunch of killers” for his campaign team.

“I’m a killer, and we’re going to win the primary and then the general,” he reportedly said.

Trump also showed a high level of interest in GOP Gov. Mike DeWine, whom the former president criticized after the governor referred to President Joe Biden as “president-elect” after the 2020 election was called last year.

DeWine is up for reelection in 2022.

Read the original article on Business Insider