It was a not-all-that-surprising moment in his speech to the CPAC Annual Convention in Orlando today when Pres. Trump went right at his detractors in the Republican Party who joined with the House Democrats in voting to impeach him, as well as GOP Senators who votes to convict him — the only purpose of which was to prevent him from running for the Presidency again in 2024 (maybe).
Pres. Trump argued that now is the time to select Republican Party leaders who have more energy and interest in attacking “Biden, Pelosi, Schumer, and the Democrats” — who want to turn the United States into a socialist country — rather than spending the using their time and energy attacking him and the GOP electorate that voted for him.
Pres. Trump called out what he referred to as “Grand Standers” in the GOP, naming Mitt Romney, Ben Sasse, Richard Burr, Bill Cassidy, Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, and Pat Toomey, all of whom voted with the Democrats in the Senate to convict him on the Article of Impeachment passed by the House.
He then named the ten GOP members of the House who voted in favor of Impeachment — Tom Rice, Adam Kinzinger, Dan Newhouse, Anthony Gonzalez, Fred Upton, Jaime Herrera Beutler, Peter Meijer, John Katko, David Valadao — and Liz Cheney.
Of the Senators, Burr and Toomey have already announced they plan to retire from the Senate at the end of their current terms. Sasse, Cassidy, and Collins were just re-elected in 2020. Romney likely feels safe in Utah, and Murkowski had already been promised by Trump that he would campaign for any Republican who will enter the race against her.
In the House, Rice has guaranteed himself a primary challenger — and likely a primary defeat — in his very pro-Trump district in South Carolina. Kinzinger comes from an Illinois district that seems to favor moderate Republicans over conservatives, and his seat might be in danger of being eliminated by Illinois Democrats if Illinois loses a congressional seat as expected after the 2020 Census.
Newhouse represents one of the more rural districts of Washington State — which Trump carried in 2020 by a margin of 58-40. He likely earned himself a primary challenge with his vote, having only served three terms himself.
Anthony Gonzalez is an Ohio State and NFL football star and can likely survive his vote in his central Ohio district which Trump carried by 15 points. He might be one GOP House member that Pres. Trump is persuaded to not target since his presence in the GOP as a high-profile conservative Latino resonates with Trump’s MAGA base.
Fred Upton is a swamp creature, having served in the House since 1987. His moderate GOP district was won by Pres. Trump only by a margin of 51-47. He’s long been one of the most moderate-to-liberal members of the House GOP caucus. He is certain to attract a pro-Trump primary challenge, but he likely survives if he chooses to run for an 18th term.
Jaime Herrera Beutler occupies a Washington district on that state’s border with Oregon. Pres. Trump won the district the narrow 51-47 margin. Herrera-Beutler will likely draw a pro-Trump primary challenger, but even if she survives that, she is one of the GOP House members most likely to see her seat flip to the Democrats in 2022.
Pete Meijer is a GOP freshman with an impressive biography and appears to be a solid conservative in a fairly closely divided district. He might be another House member that Pres. Trump is persuaded to leave alone, and not encourage a primary challenge that might end up with the district flipping to the Democrats.
John Katko is in similar shape — a former federal prosecutor in a moderate and evenly divided New York district that could easily be lost to the Democrats if Katko is pushed out by a primary challenge.
David Valadao won back his Central California seat by an extraordinarily close margin. There is a strong pro-Trump base in his district and he is certain to draw a primary challenge just to the north of Devin Nunes.
That leaves Liz Cheney. She’s roadkill after a primary challenge in Wyoming — all without any fear that the seat would be lost to the Democrats in 2022. Maybe there is a House seat she can run for in Virginia where she has always lived for most of the past 30+ years.