Maddow Blog | Three years later, Trump isn’t done targeting the Impeachment 10


Many of Donald Trump’s endorsements are easy to overlook. The former president finds sycophantic allies and publishes cookie-cutter statements of support — occasionally for Republicans who face little opposition.

But a few of his endorsements stand out for reasons that aren’t immediately obvious. NBC News reported this week, for example:

Revisiting our earlier coverage, when Trump was impeached for his role in the Jan. 6 attack, it resulted in the most bipartisan impeachment vote in American history. Against a backdrop in which Republicans seemed eager to move on from their failed, defeated president, 10 GOP House members voted with the Democratic majority in favor of the impeachment resolution, and they had every reason to believe they’d be vindicated by history.

History, however, doesn’t elect members of Congress. Voters do.

As the defeated, scandal-plagued, failed former president reclaimed control over the party, and “leaders” — I’m using the word loosely — such as Kevin McCarthy scurried to Mar-a-Lago to bend the knee, members of the Impeachment 10 came to realize that it didn’t matter that they were right. What mattered was that much of their radicalized political party wouldn’t tolerate their heresy, which would overshadow other parts of their careers in public service.

Some saw the direction in the prevailing winds and decided to avoid the indignity of defeat. It’s why four members of the contingent — Ohio’s Anthony Gonzalez, New York’s John Katko, Illinois’ Adam Kinzinger, and Michigan’s Fred Upton — announced their retirements before the 2022 primary season even began in earnest.

Four more thought they could maintain the trust of the voters who’d elected them in the first place:

  • In South Carolina, Rep. Tom Rice was crushed in a primary, losing by more than 26 points to a Republican primary rival who insisted that the 2020 election was “rigged.” (It was not rigged.)

  • In Michigan, Rep. Peter Meijer suffered a relatively narrow loss in a GOP primary to John Gibbs, perhaps best known for his “inflammatory, conspiratorial tweets.”

  • In the state of Washington, Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler lost her primary race to Joe Kent, who, according to an Associated Press report, has “connections to right-wing extremists, including a campaign consultant who was a member of the Proud Boys.”

  • In Wyoming, Rep. Liz Cheney suffered a lopsided defeat to a Trump-backed lawyer who embraced the Big Lie.

It’s worth emphasizing for context that two of these four — Gibbs and Kent — ended up losing in the 2022 general elections, allowing Democrats to flip the seats from “red” to “blue.”

As for the other two members of the Impeachment 10, California’s David Valadao narrowly won his re-election bid in 2022, while Washington’s Dan Newhouse cruised to a landslide victory two years ago. Trump has largely left Valadao alone, but the former president apparently believes Washington’s 4th congressional district is conservative enough that he can help oust Newhouse, hand Sessler the nomination, and the GOP can keep the seat.

NBC News’ report added, “According to his campaign website, Sessler has been endorsed by former Trump administration national security adviser Michael Flynn and GOP campaign adviser Roger Stone, as well as former Arizona Secretary of State candidate Mark Finchem, an election denier who repeatedly cast doubt on Joe Biden’s presidential victory and falsely claimed that the 2020 election was stolen from Trump.”

For his part, Sessler has not only criticized Newhouse for supporting accountability for Trump, he’s also described the Jan. 6 attack as “a set up.” Watch this space.

This post updates our related earlier coverage.

This article was originally published on MSNBC.com





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