Trump Has His Eyes on 'One of the Highest Priorities' for Primary Races

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Posted: May 08, 2021 6:15 PM
Trump Has His Eyes on 'One of the Highest Priorities' for Primary Races

Source: AP Photo/John Raoux

Former President Donald Trump may not be in office anymore, but he is still weighing in on races, including and especially Republicans facing primary challengers. Now, we can say for sure that Trump really does not like Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), especially after she very publicly voted to impeach him this past January. It's no surprise, then, that Trump spokesperson, Jason Miller, would be quoted in a Saturday piece from the Washington Post that getting rid of Rep. Cheney is "one of the highest priorities as far as primary endorsements go."

The piece in question, "Liz Cheney’s months-long effort to turn Republicans from Trump threatens her reelection and ambitions. She says it’s only beginning," by Michael Scherer, Josh Dawsey, and Dan Lamothe references Miller with regards to a calculated approach to finding a challenger:

The backlash to Liz Cheney’s focus on Trump has been fierce. As recently as Monday, Trump met with his advisers in Florida to discuss 2022 endorsements, according to people familiar with the meeting. One of Trump’s major priorities was to pick a single candidate from the ever-expanding ranks of Republican rivals in Wyoming who are seeking to run against her, so the anti-Cheney vote is not divided. Trump political advisers have already begun making calls to officials in Wyoming, circulating polling memos and meeting with potential candidates. Jason Miller, a Trump spokesman, said knocking off Cheney was “one of the highest priorities as far as primary endorsements go.”

The piece goes on to include what may be perhaps the best take on why Cheney is so maddening, not just to Trump, but so many other members, including those who stood up for her in the past. 

Rep. Cheney is also likely soon to be facing a vote to relieve her from her leadership role as chair of the House Republican Conference.

Opponents said the relentlessness of Cheney’s criticism after her vote for Trump’s impeachment has aggravated her ideological colleagues. 

“When you’re in leadership, you don’t just get to speak for yourself,” said one [House Minority Leader Kevin] McCarthy adviser, explaining the exasperation over her approach. “She voted against him, she had her say, and the leader supported her. But now it’s every single day.”

That Leader McCarthy stood by Rep. Cheney when she was up for a vote in February likely has much to do with why she easily held onto her leadership role in a secret ballot vote of 145-61. It also may be what spells her doom for now. McCarthy himself said during a "hot mic" moment before his interview with "Fox & Friends" on Tuesday morning that "I've had it with her," referring to Cheney. "You know, I've lost confidence."

In a May 3 statement, Trump referred to Cheney as a "big-shot warmonger." On May 5, he endorsed Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) to replace Cheney when she faces that vote.

The poll in question paints a grim picture indeed for Rep. Cheney. It's not just that 52 percent of likely GOP voters say they would vote against her, it's that they would "replace her regardless of who challenges her in 2022" and that only 14 percent would vote to re-elect her in that case. 

The poll involved 415 likely GOP voters in Wyoming, with a margin of error rate of 4.9 percent. 

As the primary approaches, and certainly after the vote to oust Cheney takes place, I would love to see more polling on this. For now, though, the results here are illuminating.