NRCC chair cautions Trump against backing primary challenges for Republicans who voted to impeach

National Republican Congressional Committee Chair Tom Emmer said Wednesday that former President Donald Trump should back down on attempting to primary GOP lawmakers who voted to impeach him.

“He can do whatever he wants,” Emmer (R-Minn.) said. “But I would tell him that it’s probably better for us that we keep these people and we make sure that we have a majority that can be sustained going forward.”

“That’s not gonna be helpful,” the NRCC chair said of Trump weighing in.

Emmer predicted in an interview with POLITICO Playbook authors Eugene Daniels and Rachael Bade that he and Trump will have a conversation “at some point."

With broad support in the Republican Party, Trump still looms large within the GOP and has already begun wading into 2022 primaries. Addressing the Conservative Political Action Conference last weekend, the former president read off the names of every Republican in the House and Senate who voted to impeach or convict him, pushing to “get rid of them all.”

And last week, Trump endorsed a primary opponent for GOP Rep. Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio, who voted to impeach him. That endorsement came despite aides pushing him to focus on Democrats, not intra-party disputes.

Emmer is among the highest profile House Republicans who have thus far been willing to break with the former president on his support for candidates primarying GOP incumbents.

Emmer said that the NRCC will not openly wade into primaries under his watch, but will provide resources to GOP incumbents as part of an effort to win back a majority in the House, a victory he guaranteed in next year’s midterm elections.

The Minnesota lawmaker also further broke with the president, saying that he didn’t believe Congress had the right to object to the certification of the Electoral College votes. Emmer voted to certify the election results.

Emmer said that Congress didn’t have the power to “insert itself,” saying it can only intervene if no candidate reaches 270 electors or if states send “alternate slates of electors.”

“The Constitution, it’s a limiting document. I mean, there’s a reason why one of the amendments speaks directly to the fact that any power that’s not expressly enumerated to the federal government, is reserved to the states,” he said. “I would encourage Democrats and Republicans alike that as we go forward, we should always follow this.”

He avoided saying that votes against certifying last November’s election results were explicitly unconstitutional, but said others should reevaluate.

“Everybody has the right to their opinion,” Emmer said. “I think we all perhaps as we go forward should re-examine what the Constitution says.”

But the NRCC chairman stopped short of saying Trump and Republicans should stop pushing false claims that Trump won the election.

“All of us together are going to make sure we’re going to restore integrity to our elections so that people will trust that their votes are being counted and the outcome is the fair and transparent result,” Emmer said.

Emmer added that Republicans should “celebrate” Trump’s policies going forward, saying they brought Republicans “a lot of new voters.” Emmer specifically pointed to Trump’s policies on energy, immigration and his “America First” agenda.

“Look at what his administration did,” Emmer said. “Hugely popular.”

A week after Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chair Sean Patrick Maloney told Bade and Daniels that GOP efforts to brand Democrats as socialists were a “Republican caricature,” Emmer argued it was a truthful portrayal.

“We’re going to be very honest. When your conference is headed down the direction with this radical socialist left agenda…and you’re not standing up to fight it…you’re going to own it. You’re going to own the entire agenda,” Emmer said. “This isn’t one or two or three or four members.” Maloney had argued these sorts of criticisms were misrepresenting Democrats as a whole.

“There’s always going to be one or two members of any congressional caucus that say things that don’t represent the majority position,” Maloney said.

Rachael Bade contributed to this report.

Source: Politico

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