Former President Donald Trump‘s penchant for punishing GOP detractors is trickling down to Congress as some of his most ardent supporters are using loyalty to the former president as a litmus test for the Republican Party.
House Republican disagreements between conservatives and centrist lawmakers on government funding and leadership have been a mainstay since the GOP won back a slim majority in 2022. But that infighting is spilling over into the 2024 presidential primary, threatening to further fracture the already-fraught GOP caucus.
Since launching his bid for the 2024 presidential election, Trump has kept a continuous calculation of those who have thrown their support behind him and, more importantly, those who have not. For those who have considered other candidates, the former president has been quick to decry their disloyalty and even vow to make them suffer politically.
“Bob Good won’t be electable when we get done with him,” Chris LaCivita, a senior adviser to Trump’s presidential campaign, told the Cardinal News.
That threat is in reference to Freedom Caucus Chairman Bob Good (R-VA), who threw his support behind Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) last year. The endorsement has angered Trump and his allies, with several falling in line behind the president to target the Virginia Republican.
“Here we have Bob Good, who has doubled down on his endorsement for DeSantis and his clear disdain and hate for President Trump,” Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), a staunch supporter of Trump, told the Washington Examiner. “He doesn’t think President Trump is electable. Bob Good is disloyal, which means you can’t trust him. People need to know this.”
Greene pointed to Trump’s endorsement of Good in the 2020 and 2022 election cycles, which she said helped secure victory in his red Virginia district.
“And at the same time,” Greene said, “he’s running around stabbing President Trump in the back.”
Good brushed off Greene’s comments, arguing that he would rather focus on government spending and securing the border rather than internal disputes.
“I don’t have time to waste commenting on every silly comment made in a House Conference meeting or on Twitter/X,” Good told the Washington Examiner in a statement. “But if members are looking to punish conservatives for trying to keep our promises, good luck keeping a majority.”
Greene extended her criticism to other members of the Freedom Caucus, a conservative coalition within the House to which she once belonged. The Georgia Republican lamented a number of “Never Trumpers” in the group, specifically pointing to Good, Chip Roy (R-TX), and Ralph Norman (R-SC), who have endorsed candidates other than Trump for the GOP nomination.
Roy has endorsed DeSantis for president and frequently appears on the campaign trail alongside the Florida governor, while Norman is backing fellow South Carolinian Nikki Haley.
Norman pushed back against Greene’s attacks, accusing the Georgia Republican of trying to divide the Republican Party.
“[It] is incomprehensible, Marjorie making that comment. We’re from America. We’re going to support whoever gets the nomination. For her to say that is just wrong,” Norman said, referring to Greene’s comments that endorsements for Trump’s challengers are a “disaster.”
“We’re all Americans,” he added. “She’s trying to divide, and I don’t appreciate that.”
Meanwhile, other Trump allies on the Hill are seeking to thwart any Republican candidates who show signs of disdain toward the former president.
House GOP Chairwoman Elise Stefanik (R-NY), the No. 4 Republican leader in the lower chamber, established Trump disloyalty as a key redline for her support — and even has punished some candidates who crossed that boundary.
Stefanik rescinded an endorsement for a top GOP recruit running for a swing district in Ohio after he was caught on tape criticizing Trump as arrogant.
“Earlier this week, I informed Craig Riedel (OH-09) that I will be withdrawing my endorsement,” Stefanik said in a Jan. 4 post on X. “As we begin 2024, my focus is on ensuring we nominate the strongest candidates on the ballot who are committed to electing President Trump this November and expanding our House GOP Majority.”
The threats against disloyalty come as Trump has frequently accused his primary opponents of betraying him, even going so far as to take credit for their political careers in the first place.
Trump did not hesitate to denounce DeSantis, once a close ally of the former president, when the Florida governor declared his own bid for the GOP presidential nomination. He did the same for Haley, who once served as his ambassador to the United Nations.
Still, Trump has managed to secure the support of virtually every corner of his party — even from some of his former challengers who have since suspended their presidential bids, such as entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy and Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC).
Several of his allies, including Stefanik, are calling on all other candidates to drop out of the race and “immediately rally behind President Trump.” Those calls come just days before the New Hampshire primary, where the former president has dominated in polling.
Still, Haley has risen in the polls in the Granite State over the past few months, which could solidify a strong second-place showing. Such a result could help boost her national standing in other primary states where Trump has held a substantial lead against his opponents.