Vengeful Trump Takes Aim at Pro-Impeachment GOP Congressman

Megan Varner/Getty Images
Megan Varner/Getty Images

Former President Donald Trump has continued his revenge tour during the 2024 election cycle as he endorsed a primary challenger to Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA), one of the two remaining Republicans who voted to impeach him in 2021.

Late Friday afternoon, Trump sent out a Truth Social post endorsing Newhouse’s primary opponent, Jerrod Sessler, calling him “MAGA all the way” and making clear this endorsement is because Newhouse voted to impeach him following the Capitol insurrection on Jan. 6, 2021.

“He is running against a weak and pathetic RINO named Newhouse, who voted to, for no reason, Impeach me. Newhouse has to go!” Trump said in his post.

Trump is known for holding a grudge and does not easily forget when people act in a way he views as “disloyal.” He often rails against them on his social media site and, at times, endorses them in hopes of forcing them out of office.

This is Trump’s first endorsement against a Republican incumbent this election cycle. Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) and former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) had worked overtime to ensure that Trump supported even the most moderate incumbents as Republicans tried to retain control of the House. Their efforts had been mostly successful, but they clearly fell short when it came to Newhouse.

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This appears to be just the latest example of Trump trying to exact revenge against those who voted to impeach him. In the 2022 cycle, the former president used his political capital to successfully try and oust each Republican who voted to impeach him. Some opted to retire instead of facing a heated primary, others lost their re-election bid, and only two survived—Newhouse and Rep. David Valadao (R-CA).

Valadao advanced to the general election this cycle, and Trump did not endorse his Republican challenger. However, the same cannot be said for Newhouse, who represents a safer seat for Republicans than Valadao.

Newhouse’s opponent, Sessler, is a NASCAR driver and a Navy veteran who has never held political office. In 2022, he attempted to primary Newhouse but fell short, receiving only 12.3 percent of the vote.

Sessler has labeled Newhouse an “impeacher” and has run on him not being loyal to Trump. He has tried to cast himself as the “American First candidate” and as the only Republican in the race who would support Trump.

While Trump’s endorsement carries a lot of weight in Republican primaries, it does not guarantee Sessler will win. In 2022, Trump endorsed Loren Culp, a Republican attempting to primary Newhouse. Culp only amassed 21.6 percent of the vote and failed to advance to the general election.

In Washington, the elections are not divided into partisan primaries. Rather, they are what is known as “jungle primaries,” where Democrats and Republicans run on the same ticket, and the top two advance regardless of party affiliation. This could result in a Republican versus Republican general election.

“Jerrod Sessler is not a real conservative, and he has no business representing this district; he’s not a serious person,” one GOP operative told The Daily Beast.

Representatives for Newhouse and Sessler did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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