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Donald Trump endorsements bother House Freedom Caucus

Trump irritates House Freedom Caucus with endorsements

There’s usually not a lot of daylight between the House Freedom Caucus and former President Donald Trump. But there is one area where Trump is really irking the group of conservative hardliners — endorsements.

First, Trump endorsed against the group’s chair, Rep. Bob Good (R-Va.). Now, senior HFC members are openly criticizing the former president’s endorsement strategy in other GOP primaries.

Trump has also supported incumbents who have been critical of Freedom Caucus members, including Reps. Austin Scott (R-Ga.) and William Timmons (R-S.C.).

And Trump has taken a similar tack in Senate races, endorsing the GOP campaign arm’s preferred moderate candidates in key races, including former Rep. Mike Rogers in Michigan and Tim Sheehy in Montana.

“He is endorsing moderates in most races if there’s a conservative in the race,” said Rep. Warren Davidson (R-Ohio). “We can’t send the swamp any people that are just going to keep funding the status quo.”

In the House: Timmons is facing a primary challenge by South Carolina state Rep. Adam Morgan, who chairs the South Carolina Freedom Caucus. Morgan told us he thinks Trump will regret his choice not to back him.

“[Trump] needs to listen to a lot of different people on who to endorse,” said Rep. Ralph Norman (R-S.C.), who is supporting Morgan. “I don’t know how much time and thought he puts into it.”

Rep. Dan Bishop (R-N.C.), who is running for North Carolina attorney general, said Trump is “under a great deal of pressure,” but needs to ensure that he chooses candidates who will fight for his agenda in the next Congress.

“I hope he’s paying close attention because he needs allies in Congress and not continuing what many are doing, which is blocking his path,” Bishop told us.

The Good factor: Trump has occasionally been known to “forgive and forget” when it comes to endorsing GOP candidates who have previously said nasty things about him.

But Trump recently doubled down on his support for Virginia state Sen. John McGuire, who is running against Good in Virginia’s 5th District. Good endorsed Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for president before backing Trump after DeSantis dropped out.

Since then, Trump and his allies have gone all in to defeat Good in the June 18 primary. Trump has accused Good of stabbing him in the back. Trump’s campaign also sent a cease-and-desist letter demanding Good stop implying Trump supports him this time around.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), who campaigned for McGuire last week, said the candidate has frequently come up in conversations she’s had with Trump.

“[Trump’s] excited about John McGuire,” Greene told us. “Bob Good is not as liked as much as he claims.”

Good told us he can win without Trump’s endorsement, which he said doesn’t matter as much as grassroots support.

“What people in D.C. don’t understand is that I’m doing what Republican voters in my district want,” Good told us. “They didn’t wait around for three and a half years to see if somebody was going to endorse me.”

But of course, Trump’s endorsement is highly coveted and the former president’s support for a candidate has the ability to make or break a race.

— Mica Soellner

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Editorial photos provided by Getty Images. Political ads courtesy of AdImpact.