Citing conversations with a person familiar with Trump’s decision, the Post said he is expected to make the endorsement on Thursday, throwing his support behind Harriet Hageman, an attorney in Wyoming who until this week had served as the state’s national Republican committeewoman. Hageman has not yet officially entered the primary contest, which takes place next August.
Politico first reported Trump’s plans to endorse Hageman.
Jeremy Adler, a spokesman for Cheney, declined to comment on reports of Trump’s expected endorsement.
Trump’s apparent decision to endorse a challenger to Cheney is unsurprising given the history between the two Republicans, whose public rivalry intensified earlier this year after the congresswoman joined nine other members of her party to vote in favor of impeaching Trump for his role in inciting the deadly January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol.
But the move by Trump will set up a key test of his post-presidency political strength, giving him a fresh chance to see whether he’s able to convince voters to oust his critics, even those who have remained somewhat popular in their home states. CNN reported earlier this year that although Trump allies were searching for a viable replacement for Cheney, the congresswoman still had significant support, and she went on to raise nearly $1.9 million during the second fundraising quarter.
Bill Cubin, a Republican strategist in Wyoming, told CNN on Wednesday that Hageman “is conservative and has made a career of fighting for Wyoming issues and people.”
“She’s pretty well known, she ran for governor in 2018, and, with President Trump’s endorsement, she is the clear favorite to win the GOP nomination in August 2022,” he said.
Earlier this year, House Republicans punished Cheney after she consistently publicly rejected Trump’s false claims of voter fraud in the 2020 election, removing her from her post as GOP conference chair in an move that was supported by Trump.
Following the vote, Trump ripped into Cheney, the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, in a statement that criticized the congresswoman and her father for their hawkish foreign policy views.
“I watched her yesterday and realized how bad she is for the Republican Party,” he said at the time.
The Post said that Cheney had previously enjoyed the support of Hageman, who had donated to her campaigns and served “as an adviser to her failed Senate bid in 2013.”
But the newspaper said that “like many Republicans, (Hageman) has turned on the Wyoming lawmaker due to Cheney’s outspoken criticism of Trump.”
Cheney has recently angered some Trump allies in Congress for her role on a House select committee investigating the January 6 insurrection. Last week, the committee’s Democratic chairman, Rep. Bennie Thompson, announced that Cheney will serve as the panel’s vice chair.