Former President Donald Trump, in his first post-presidency rally in Ohio on June 26, called on Republican voters to deliver a “gigantic victory” for GOP lawmakers during the 2022 midterms and called for the ouster of “RINOs,” or Republicans in name only.
Trump told a crowd at the Lorain County Fairgrounds that they should reject Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R-Ohio) after he joined nine other Republicans in their vote to impeach Trump earlier this year.
While castigating Gonzalez as “a grandstanding RINO,” Trump said that voters should back his former aide, Max Miller, during the 2022 midterm elections. Miller announced his candidacy following Gonzalez’s vote to impeach.
“He’s not the candidate that you want representing the Republican Party,” he said of Gonzales. “Every single Republican needs to vote him out of office.”
Trump also invoked Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), another one of his most vocal Republican detractors, in claiming that Gonzalez is “the candidate of Liz Cheney.” Cheney, notably, was ousted from her House No. 3 leadership position earlier this year over her increasingly critical comments of Trump, and she was replaced with the Trump-backed Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.).
During the rally, Trump also mentioned other Republicans who voted to impeach or convict him during his second trial earlier this year, including Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), suggesting that they be voted out in favor of conservatives who back his agenda.
The former commander-in-chief said that he wasn’t attending the rally just to spite Gonzalez, but was there to support Miller’s bid for Congress.
“That’s not the reason I’m doing this,” Trump said. “But I just thought that it was a character trait that was not so good.”
Gonzalez, a former NFL wide receiver, explained in January that he believed his vote to impeach Trump for allegedly inciting the Jan. 6 Capitol incident will be looked at favorably by historians.
“Over the long arc of history,” Gonzalez said, “I believe that this is the right vote, and I believe it sends the right message to all future presidents and anybody who considers taking the Oval Office.”
Other than certain Republicans, Trump repeatedly criticized the Biden administration’s policies, namely on illegal immigration and crime. That’s why, according to the former commander-in-chief, voters need to deliver victories for Republican candidates during the midterm elections.
During the event, Trump didn’t make any mention of a potential 2024 presidential bid. In recent interviews, the former president has said he’s toying with the idea, but won’t make a decision until the midterms are finished.
Gonzalez’s office didn’t respond to a request for comment by press time.