Liz Cheney in Donald Trump Jr.’s 2022 crosshairs
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It’s a long way down the road, but it appears Donald Trump Jr. is already making plans to travel to Wyoming next year to target Rep. Liz Cheney in the Republican primaries as she runs for re-election.
Teasing a potential trip, former President Trump’s eldest son on Sunday told Politico’s Playbook that when it comes to Wyoming, “I hear it’s lovely during primary season.”
Cheney, the No. 3 ranking House Republican in leadership, is high on the Trump world’s most wanted list for her vote last month to impeach the then-president on a charge of inciting the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol by right-wing extremists and other Trump supporters. The three-term statewide congresswoman was the most high profile of the 10 House Republicans who joined all 222 Democrats in the chamber to impeach Trump, with 197 GOP representatives voting against impeachment.
A Republican source with knowledge of Trump Jr.’s political thought process told Fox News last week, “Don’s focus in 2022 will be on the Democrats, to help the GOP retake the House and Senate. It’s not Don’s wish to see an all-encompassing Republican civil war, but he views Liz Cheney to the exception to that rule.”
A group of Trump loyalists in the House, including Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, pushed to strip Cheney of her GOP leadership position. But 145 members of the House Republican Conference ended up backing Cheney, with just 61 Trump loyalists voting to remove her from her leadership role during a secret ballot vote.
While victorious on Capitol Hill, Cheney faces major political headaches back home. On Saturday the Wyoming GOP overwhelming voted to censure Cheney and called on her to resign. And she faces at least one primary challenge when she’s up for reelection next year.
Cheney, who’s long followed in the footsteps of her father – former Vice President Dick Cheney – in advocating for a hawkish and muscular U.S. role overseas, was a very vocal critic of Trump’s “America First” foreign policy during the former president’s four years in the White House. And she was no stranger to confrontations with Trump and his supporters.
The former president, who according to public opinion polls remains very popular with Republican voters, pledges to remain extremely influential in GOP politics.
Two weeks ago the former president’s political action committee, Save America, released a poll that suggested that Cheney was politically wounded among Republicans by her vote to impeach Trump. The survey was showcased the next day by Gaetz, who took aim at Cheney at a large rally on the steps of the Wyoming Capitol.
Trump Jr., who for a couple of years has been a major draw with the MAGA world, called into the rally to also target Cheney. Pointing to her father’s infamous hunting accident, when the then-vice president wounded a friend, Trump’s eldest son argued: “It seems like Liz Cheney’s favorables there are only slightly worse than her father’s shooting skills.
“Since the people of Wyoming are clearly not thrilled with Liz Cheney, let’s find someone who can replace her,” Trump Jr. implored.
But he warned against having multiple primary challengers that could divide the anti-Cheney vote in next year’s primary saying, “Let’s not split this vote up and blow an opportunity to get rid of a RINO.”
RINO is the acronym for “Republican in name only.”
Last month top Trump political adviser Corey Lewandowski launched a new PAC named “Fight Back Now America” to support Trump. The PAC’s first target: Cheney.
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While Trump world will be able to raise and invest big bucks to target Cheney, she will likely be able to keep competitive in fundraising. Even without any serious opposition last year, the congresswoman raised $3 million for her re-election campaign.
And Cheney is already fundraising for her 2022 reelection. Fox News confirmed that she held a virtual fundraiser Monday. Among those who were scheduled to attend were former House Speaker John Boehner and former Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida.
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