The chasm in the GOP base for former US President Donald Trump is widening as more Republicans seem to be distancing themselves from him in the wake of the January 6 Senate select committee hearings on the Capitol Hill insurrection.
Ahead of the November 8 mid-terms for the 435-member house of reps, a powerful Republican from Texas, Ted Cruz has announced he breaks from Trump to support the candidate opposing the GOP nominee of Trump in the primaries in Wisconsin. He joins the likes of Sens. Liz Cheney and Lofgren in the committee who want Trump indicted for January 6 events.
Trump’s (former) vice president Mike Pence has announced his support for a regent Karrin Taylor Robson against the Trump backed TV anchor Kary Lake for the Arizona seat in the primaries in that state. Lake endorsed Trump’s views of a stolen election in 2020.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) has thrown his support behind Wisconsin gubernatorial GOP candidate Rebecca Kleefisch, breaking from former President Donald Trump, who has endorsed another candidate in the Republican primary.
Cruz announced on Tuesday his support for Kleefisch, one of two candidates running against Trump endorsed Tim Michels.
Michels, a “very successful businessman”, secured Trump’s support in the GOP primaries in June to helm the battleground state, marking the latest of the former President’s proxy wars with former allies ahead of the midterm elections, according to media reports.
“I’m proud to endorse (Kleefisch) for governor of Wisconsin. Rebecca will fight for a stronger economy, school choice so parents are back in charge of their kids’ education,” Cruz tweeted.
Trump argued that Michels is the “best candidate to deliver meaningful solutions” for inflation and other problems. He announced plans earlier this week to hold a rally for Michels in Wisconsin on August 5, just days ahead of the GOP primary race on August 9.
It’s not the first time the former allies have gotten into a proxy war. In May, Cruz stumped for Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL), his GOP colleague.
Trump had initially backed Brooks in the GOP primary runoff in Alabama before switching support to Katie Britt.
Britt defeated the six-term representative last month.
Trump’s endorsement track record has been mixed this primary season, pushing some candidates to the finish line while faltering with others, media reports say.
Wisconsin’s gubernatorial race is considered a toss-up as of Tuesday, according to Cook Political Report
Cheney, first elected in 2016, faces an uphill battle to defend her seat in November as polls show her trailing behind Hageman by 22 points, according to a poll by the Casper Star-Tribune.
Cheney’s chances of being re-elected have been particularly rocky ever since she voted to impeach Trump in 2021, joining just nine other House Republicans in doing so. The incumbent’s involvement with the January 6 select committee, where she serves as vice chairwoman, has deepened the wedge between her and the Trump wing of the party, media reports say.
Meanwhile, Attorney General Merrick Garland did not rule out prosecuting Trump over January 6.
Garland left open the possibility that Trump could be prosecuted in connection with inciting the January 6, 2021, insurrection in an exclusive interview Tuesday with NBC News.
“Look, we pursue justice without fear or favor,” Garland told NBC News’ Lester Holt, when asked whether indicting a former president would “arguably tear the country apart.”
“We intend to hold everyone, anyone who was criminally responsible for the events surrounding January 6, for any attempt to interfere with the lawful transfer of power from one administration to another, accountable,” Garland continued. “That’s what we do.”
So, if Donald Trump were to become a candidate for president again, that would not change your schedule or how you move forward or don’t move forward?” Holt asked.
“I’ll say again that we will hold accountable anyone who is criminally responsible for attempting to interfere with the transfer — legitimate, lawful transfer of power from one administration to the next,” Garland answered.
Garland’s remarks came as the Justice Department has faced increasing pressure to act decisively following weeks of testimony before the bipartisan January 6 investigatory committee by former Trump administration officials who alleged that Trump incited the rioters who invaded the US Capitol and that he ignored pleas of his own people to stop them.