Trump calls for challengers to take on Chris Smith, other Republicans for backing infrastructure bill

Last week, 13 House Republicans voted in favor of President Joe Biden’s $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill along with most Democrats. Former President Donald Trump said on Saturday that he would back challengers to many of those who voted for the bill.

“Any interest from good and SMART America First Republican Patriots to run primary campaigns against Representatives Tom Rice, John Katko, Don Bacon, Don Young, Fred Upton (challenge accepted), Andrew Garbarino, Peter Meijer (challenge accepted), David McKinley (challenge accepted), Nancy Mace, Jaime Herrara Buetler (challenge accepted), and Chris Smith?” the former president wrote in a statement. “You will have my backing.”

Bacon, Garbarino, Katko, McKinley, Smith, Upton, and Young were among 13 House Republicans who voted in favor of the infrastructure bill last week. 

Trump has previously threatened to back primary challengers to Republicans who were planning to support the infrastructure bill; in July, he promised “lots of primaries” against any lawmaker who supported the bill following Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell saying he would vote in favor. Seventeen Republicans in the Senate also supported the bill.

Trump also took shots at Reps. Anthony Gonzalez, Adam Kinzinger, and Tom Reed in his Statement on Saturday; he said they “already QUIT, they are out of politics, hopefully for good.” All three of those representatives voted to pass the infrastructure bill.

In his statement, Trump referred to Rep. Liz Cheney as a “warmonger,” and he called Sen. Lisa Murkowski the “Disaster from Alaska.” Cheney, along with Kinzinger, Meijer, Gonzalez, Upton, Katko, Mace, and Herrera Beutler, voted to hold Trump’s former White House chief strategist, Steve Bannon, in criminal contempt of Congress. “Saving America starts by saving the GOP from RINOs [Republicans in name only], sellouts, and known losers!” Trump said.

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