Former President Donald Trump on Friday reveled in Rep. Anthony Gonzalez’s decision to not seek reelection rather than face a bruising primary after he voted to impeach Trump earlier this year.
“RINO Congressman Anthony Gonzalez, who has poorly represented his district in the Great State of Ohio, has decided to quit after enduring a tremendous loss of popularity, of which he had little, since his ill-informed and otherwise very stupid impeachment vote against the sitting President of the United States, me,” Trump said in a statement issued by his PAC.
Trump has been prolific in doling out his endorsement since leaving office to dozens of Republican candidates, though he has reserved special attention to targeting politicians he believes have crossed him like Gonzalez and Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming.
Gonzalez, 36, is the first of the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump to bring their congressional careers to a close. Gonzalez told The New York Times, which first reported his retirement plans Thursday, that the animus he and his family has faced from Trump’s fervent supporters played a role in his decision.
“Politically the environment is so toxic, especially in our own party right now," he said. “You can fight your butt off and win this thing, but are you really going to be happy? And the answer is, probably not.”
Trump has already endorsed a Republican challenger, former White House aide Max Miller, though Ohio — like all states — is in the process of redrawing district lines after last year's census.
“This is no loss for Ohio or our Country and, most importantly, we have a great candidate who was substantially leading Gonzalez in the polls, Max Miller, who I have given my Complete and Total Endorsement,” Trump said in his statement.
Ohio is losing one of its 16 congressional districts. Gonzalez insisted that had he run, he would have been victorious, though he conceded he may not have been happy continuing to serve in a party increasingly made in Trump’s visage.
“Good riddance to Anthony,” Trump said.