Senate Republican Whip John Thune, Trump's latest target, voted with him more than 93% of the time.
The loser of the 2020 presidential election, Donald Trump, is now pushing for primary challenges to those who are acknowledging his defeat. This even includes those who have enabled him for four years.
On Tuesday, Trump trained his ire on Senate Republican Whip John Thune, who publicly accepted Joe Biden as the president-elect last week and made comments on Monday pouring cold water on a scheme to overturn the results through a congressional challenge to the Electoral College results.
"Republicans in the Senate so quickly forget. Right now they would be down 8 seats without my backing them in the last Election. RINO John Thune, 'Mitch’s boy', should just let it play out," he tweeted. "South Dakota doesn’t like weakness. He will be primaried in 2022, political career over!!!"
The "Mitch's Boy" slur refers to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who also recently acknowledged Biden's win — much to Trump's dismay. Trump blasted McConnell in an email on Monday as the "first one off the ship."
This is not first time Trump has pushed for primary challenges to Republicans who he believes have wronged him.
In June, he vowed to travel to Alaska in 2022 to help defeat Sen. Lisa Murkowski after she demurred on whether she'd back his reelection.
"Few people know where they’ll be in two years from now, but I do, in the Great State of Alaska (which I love) campaigning against Senator Lisa Murkowski. She voted against HealthCare, Justice Kavanaugh, and much else," he wrote. "Unrelated, I gave Alaska ANWR, major highways, and more. Get any candidate ready, good or bad, I don’t care, I’m endorsing. If you have a pulse, I’m with you!"
In October, he urged Nebraska Republicans to "find a new and more viable candidate" to replace Sen. Ben Sasse, who had criticized Trump at a telephone town hall for cozying up to dictators and flirting with white supremacists. (Sasse won reelection by a landslide the following month.)
"Who will be running for Governor of the Great State of Ohio?" Trump asked on Twitter. "Will be hotly contested!"
And earlier this month, Trump urged outgoing Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA), a prominent backer, to run against Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp in 2022. "Doug, you want to run for governor in two years?" Trump asked, after excoriating Kemp for not doing enough to overturn his defeat in what was once a solidly red state.
But while Trump is mad that these Republicans were not 100% loyal to him — even in the face of his overwhelming 2020 loss — he owes a strong debt of gratitude to each.
As the number two Republican in the Senate, Thune helped pushed through much of Trump's legislation and hundreds of his right-wing judicial appointees. According to FiveThirtyEight, he voted with Trump more than 93% of the time over the past four years. This included votes for Trump's tax cuts that mostly benefited corporations and the very wealthy, his failed Obamacare repeal proposal, his impeachment acquittal, and his Supreme Court appointees.
Even Murkowski, who opposed the Obamacare legislation and one of Trump's three Supreme Court picks, voted with Trump more than 74% of the time.
And both DeWine and Kemp vocally supported Trump's reelection campaign.
"I'm very happy to be voting for Donald Trump," DeWine proclaimed in October.
That same month, Kemp lauded Trump as "a President who believes that our country is exceptional, that life should be protected, and that our men and women in uniform should be RESPECTED!" and "an unapologetic leader who will do whatever it takes to Keep America Great."
Despite Trump's bluster, it is hard to predict how much impact Trump's opinion will have in two years.
This year, he backed Republican Reps. Denver Riggleman of Virginia and Scott Tipton of Colorado in their primary races — only to see both fail. He also urged the defeat of Kentucky Rep. Thomas Massie, who was easily reelected.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.