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Trump begins settling scores with Republican opponents by endorsing a former aide's primary challenge to an Ohio congressman who backed impeachment

Business Insider logo Business Insider 2/27/2021 sankel@businessinsider.com (Sophia Ankel)
Anthony Gonzalez, Donald Trump are posing for a picture: Ohio Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (L) and Former President Donald Trump (R). Saul Loeb/AFP/ Pool via Getty Images © Saul Loeb/AFP/ Pool via Getty Images Ohio Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (L) and Former President Donald Trump (R). Saul Loeb/AFP/ Pool via Getty Images
  • Trump has endorsed Max Miller, a primary challenger running against Ohio's Rep. Anthony Gonzalez.
  • Gonzalez is one of the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump last month.
  • Trump has indicated he would play an active role on the campaign trail during the 2022 elections. 
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Donald Trump endorsed former aide Max Miller in his primary challenge against one of the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach the former president last month. 

Miller announced on Friday that he was launching a campaign against Rep. Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio, a second-term congressman and former professional football player who has been a vocal opponent of Trump since the January 6 insurrection and voted to impeach him last month.

"Current Rep. Anthony Gonzalez should not be representing the people of the 16th District because he does not represent their interest or their heart," Trump said in a statement released Friday afternoon, according to Politico. "Max Miller has my Complete and Total Endorsement!"

Miller, who played a key role in Trump's 2016 and 2020 election campaigns, has not previously run for elected office. Politico reported last week he'd purchased a house in the northeast Ohio district to challenge Gonzalez.

  

"Max Miller is a wonderful person who did a great job at the White House and will be a fantastic Congressman," Trump continued in his statement, according to CNN. "He is a Marine Veteran, a son of Ohio, and a true PATRIOT."

The endorsement is an early sign of the former President's plans to play and an active role on the campaign trail during the 2022 midterm elections - something he had previously indicated.

"Where necessary and appropriate, I will back primary rivals who espouse Making America Great Again and our policy of America First," Trump said in a statement earlier this month, according to Fox News. "We want brilliant, strong, thoughtful, and compassionate leadership."

Gonzalez, who easily won reelection in November after first winning the district in 2018, sparked outrage after becoming one of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump in January.

But the congressman has continued to stand by his vote, telling reporters last month he is willing to lose his seat over the decision, according to CNN.

Following the January 6 Capitol riots, which resulted in the deaths of five people, Gonzales said of Trump: "He was not sorry to see his unyieldingly loyal vice president or the Congress under attack by the mob he inspired. In fact, it seems he was happy about it or at the least enjoyed the scenes that were horrifying to most Americans across the country," CNN reported.

Gonzalez isn't the only Republican who Trump may target heading into the 2022 mid-term elections.

Trump has his eyes on Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, who also voted for the former president's impeachment and Georgia Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, whom Trump blamed for not doing enough to challenge his election loss in the state.

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