Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R-Ohio), one of a handful of Republicans to vote to impeach Donald Trump during his second impeachment trial, said that the former president is an “enormous political loser” who “lied to us” and “led us into a ditch” on Jan. 6.
Appearing on State of the Union, Gonzalez told host Jake Tapper on Sunday, “The cold hard truth is Donald Trump led us into a ditch on Jan. 6. The former president lied to us. He lied to every one of us and in doing so he cost [Republicans] the House, the Senate and the White House.”
"I felt like I had no choice in the matter. I had to do what I felt was right to protect the country," says GOP Rep. Anthony Gonzalez on his decision to impeach former Pres. Trump after the Jan. 6 riot at the US Capitol. https://t.co/Q2XR0gctGz #CNNSOTU pic.twitter.com/Ts0BcNhutz
— State of the Union (@CNNSotu) November 14, 2021
He continued: “I see, fundamentally, a person who shouldn’t be able to hold office again because of what he did around Jan. 6. But I also see somebody who’s an enormous political loser. And I don’t know why anybody who wants to win elections going forward would follow that. I simply, like, I don’t get it ethically. I certainly don’t get it politically. Neither of them makes sense.”
It should be no surprise, considering the congressman’s candor, that Trump is not his biggest fan. Trump appeared at a rally for Gonzalez’s primary opponent, a former Trump aide named Max Miller, over the summer. Miller, who Trump called “a really great guy,” reportedly assaulted former White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham, an accusation he denied to Politico.
Gonzalez is not running for re-election next year but promised to do everything in his power to make sure he is defeated — as long as it doesn’t require him to vote for a Democratic candidate.
“If he’s the nominee again in ’24, I will do everything I personally can to make sure he doesn’t win,” Gonzalez said. “Now I’m not voting for Democrats, but whether that’s finding a viable third party or whether that’s trying to defeat him in primaries, whatever it is, that’s going to be where I’ll spend my time. Jan. 6 was the line that can’t be crossed.”
But, Gonzalez warned that Trump may try to “steal” a victory if he runs and loses in 2024 because he is trying to install loyalists in positions of power. Trump is “trying to remove those people [who stood in his way] and install people who are going to do exactly what he wants them to do, who believe the big lie, who go along with anything he says,” Gonzalez said. He added that Trump is “pushing towards one of two outcomes: He either wins legitimately, which he may do, or if he loses again, he’ll just try to steal it, but he’ll try to steal it with his people in those positions.”