Former US President Donald Trump has hit back at the Republican congressman who called him a “cancer” for the country.
Representative Anthony Gonzalez (R-Ohio) on Thursday announced that he would not seek reelection next year because of Trump’s influence on the Republican Party.
“The current state of our politics, especially many of the toxic dynamics inside our own party, is a significant factor in my decision,” Gonzalez wrote on Twitter.
Gonzalez, who was one of 10 Republicans who voted to impeach Trump, lamented the “chaotic political environment that currently infects” the United States.
On Friday, Trump pointedly welcomed Gonzalez’s withdrawal.
“This is no loss for Ohio or our country,” Trump said in a statement. “Good riddance to Anthony, he can now get himself a job at ratings-dead CNN or MSDNC!”
Trump has called the Ohio congressman a “sellout” and “fake Republican” and described his impeachment vote as “ill-informed and otherwise very stupid.”
The former US president has backed Gonzalez’s primary opponent, Max Miller.
“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, using an acronym for “Republican in name only.”
Trump has sought to keep a tight grip on the Republican Party amid speculation that he could run for the White House again in 2024.
“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. “Max is a tremendous person who will represent Ohio well.”
Gonzalez, who has represented Ohio’s 16th Congressional District since 2019, joined nine of his Republican colleagues earlier this year in backing impeachment proceedings against Trump.
'1 down, 9 to go!'
“1 down, 9 to go!” Trump gloated, in the second of two statements he released on Friday celebrating Gonzalez’s exit.
Trump became the first president in US history to be impeached twice. He was impeached by the House twice during his four-year tenure in the White House, first in December 2019 and then again in January 2021.
The House first impeached the former president accusing him of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, in connection with his dealings with Ukraine.
In his last days in the White House, Trump was impeached again, for incitement of an insurrection, following the deadly assault on the Capitol on January 6 where his thousands of supporters tried to capture the building housing the US Congress. Six people died in the incident.
The Republican-held Senate, however, acquitted him on all charges.