Embittered Republicans plot to knock off House GOP’s hard-right leader in Virginia primary feud

Embittered Republicans plot to knock off House GOP’s hard-right leader in Virginia primary feud post thumbnail image

For extra on Republican Rep. Bob Good’s major battle, watch “Inside Politics Sunday with Manu Raju” at 11 a.m. ET.

Appomattox, Virginia CNN  — 

Rep. Derrick Van Orden is finished with Rep. Bob Good.

Good, the chief of the Home Freedom Caucus and one among eight Republicans who voted to oust Kevin McCarthy from the speakership, has been on the middle of inner GOP infighting that has left their celebration’s agenda in tatters and their convention embroiled in a bitter civil battle.

Now Van Orden has joined fingers with a band of Home Republicans angling to knock Good off in his June major by propping up his major opponent, John McGuire – a tactic lengthy considered as a severe breach of protocol however one which underscores the unhealthy blood inside the Home GOP.

“Bob Good didn’t come right here to control. He got here right here to be well-known,” Van Orden, a Wisconsin Republican, informed CNN. “Bob Good’s carrying our jersey, and he’s not on the group.”

Van Orden added: “Should you take a look at what we now have not been capable of accomplish on this Congress, it’s predominantly due to Bob Good and his ilk.”

However Good is undeterred.

As he barnstormed by way of his district final week with fellow Home GOP hardliners, reminiscent of Reps. Matt Gaetz of Florida, Andy Biggs of Arizona and Chip Roy of Texas, Good stated voters in his district don’t care what his colleague from Wisconsin thinks. And he pointedly accused a lot of his Republican colleagues in Washington of casting votes that harm the nation and undermine the conservative trigger.

Rep. Derrick Van Orden talks with reporters after a meeting of the House Republican Conference in the US Capitol on Tuesday, November 7, 2023.

“They’ve by no means heard of Derrick Van Orden. They might care much less what Derrick Van Orden thinks,” he stated of his constituents, later telling CNN that questions on his Republican colleagues turning towards him are “silly.”

“You come to those issues, and also you ask questions that no one right here cares about. You deliver up Derrick Van Orden, which is a joke,” he stated.

“RINOs, institution moderates do nothing to affect Republican major elections,” Good added. “Conservative, brave warriors like these endorsing me immediately and being right here with me immediately are those who my constituents care about.”

The poisonous infighting that has dominated the Home GOP majority – and has now landed squarely in Good’s conservative district in rural Virginia – is an element of a bigger battle over the path of the GOP. As many Republicans in Washington say that compromise and consensus with Democrats is the best way to control in divided authorities, Good and his bloc of members excoriate such deal-cutting as they push their no-compromise method.

“That is a very powerful major within the nation,” stated Gaetz, who led the cost to oust McCarthy and has focused two different sitting Republicans of their primaries to date this cycle. “Bob is our masthead. Bob Good is our chief amongst Home conservatives to get us on the identical web page to make sure that it’s the individuals’s pursuits that rise above the particular pursuits. They know that they hate us. However you realize what, there are extra of us.”

In an interview on Friday, McGuire – a former Navy SEAL – stated Good’s conduct is “embarrassing” and that the congressman’s “name-calling” of fellow Republicans is “so infantile.”

“I imagine that my opponent desires to burn all of it down, no options form of man,” McGuire stated. “I feel that we want leaders that wish to develop the celebration and unite our nation.”

McGuire added: “In case you are serving to the Democrat group take out the Republican group, who’s the RINO?”

Good, 58, who received his first race in 2020 by knocking off a average GOP incumbent, Denver Riggleman, is one among 4 Republicans who’re being focused by members from inside their very own convention. Within the different instances, it’s far-right Republicans maneuvering to take out colleagues they view as insufficiently conservative.

Now, it’s the center-right placing again – together with allies of McCarthy and a brand new GOP exterior group starting to assault Good as nicely.

Requested if Good’s vote to oust McCarthy prompted the Home GOP effort to defeat him, Georgia Rep. Austin Scott stated: “It has one thing to do with that. However extra vital than that, I feel, we’ve received a man who can be a great member of our group,” referring to McGuire.

John McGuire attends the VCDL rally on in January 2023 at Capitol Square in Richmond, Virginia.

McGuire stated he had not been recruited by McCarthy however informed CNN that he has spoken not too long ago with the previous speaker and referred to as him a “good man,” noting that McCarthy crammed him in on “what goes on in Congress.”

Within the interview, he made clear he would have voted to maintain McCarthy as speaker.

“I’d have by no means in 1,000,000 years, partnered with the opposite celebration to take out our chief,” McGuire stated. “I imply, I’d think about when you have been Nancy Pelosi, she most likely stated ‘Let me get this straight. You wish to companion with us to take out your greatest chief who has essentially the most leverage and essentially the most institutional information with no plan?’”

Earlier this month, a gaggle of largely defense-minded Home Republicans – a few of whom have sparred with Good over Pentagon spending – raised large bucks for McGuire at a non-public fundraiser. On the occasion, Home Armed Providers Chairman Mike Rogers of Alabama referred to as Good a “hazard to our nation,” in line with McGuire.

Rogers didn’t wish to discuss his push to knock off Good when pressed by CNN within the Capitol, saying, “I don’t have any remark.” His workplace didn’t reply to a request for touch upon his remarks on the fundraiser.

The Trump issue

However maybe the largest problem dealing with Good: Donald Trump. Through the GOP presidential major, Good backed Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, explaining he most popular a candidate who might serve for eight years in workplace, moderately than simply 4 extra years like Trump.

Good’s help for DeSantis within the major is now the topic of an assault advert by a brand new exterior group, Virginians for Conservative Management PAC, which says: “Bob Good has no religion in Trump.”

But as he campaigned final week, Good confirmed no daylight with Trump, with indicators that stated: “Trump, Bob Good: Holding America Nice” — all as he stumped with Trump’s former chief of employees, Mark Meadows, who in contrast him to the previous president.

“Not solely am I proud that Bob has been keen to face up, he’s taken arrows,” Meadows informed voters. “I had the privilege of serving with a president that’s taking arrows as nicely. And you realize what? Once you draw back when the arrows come, the arrows find yourself hitting another person.”

Within the interview, Good dismissed questions on his backing of DeSantis.

Rep. Bob Good speaks with reporters at the US Capitol on January 12, in Washington, DC.

Requested if he regretted his DeSantis endorsement, Good informed CNN: “Why don’t you get with the current? It is a time to rally behind President Trump. My opponent desires to proceed to divide individuals based mostly on the previous. We’re all behind President Trump. He should win. The nation can’t deal with 4 extra years of Joe Biden.”

However Good’s foes received’t let him neglect the place he stood provided that he backed DeSantis till he dropped out of the race after the Iowa caucuses.

“I feel all of us hate politicians that say one factor in public and a unique factor in non-public, and also you can’t belief them,” stated McGuire, who met privately with Trump at Mar-a-Lago not too long ago. “And he’s confirmed that he may be trusted, and Trump can’t belief him.”

McGuire boasted about his efforts to assist Trump forward of the Iowa caucuses.

“I made like 10 hours’ price of telephone requires him there, and I put a bunch of yard indicators,” McGuire stated. “I’m a group participant.”

Rep. Ryan Zinke of Montana, a former Trump Cupboard member who’s backing McGuire, added: “We will do so much higher than Good,” he stated. “We will do nice.”

And Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene – who was booted from the Freedom Caucus final 12 months after sparring along with her GOP colleagues – has endorsed McGuire, saying Good “can’t be trusted and can work towards Trump.”

“John McGuire endorsed and supported President Trump when you stabbed him within the again,” she posted on X.

Good angrily dismissed her.

“No one cares what Marjorie Taylor Greene says or thinks. And he or she’s a one-man present, she’s grandstanding and he or she desires consideration,” Good stated.

Trump has but to endorse anybody within the race, however one among his high advisers, Chris LaCivita, informed an area Virginia information outlet in January: “Bob Good received’t be electable once we get accomplished with him.”

Requested final week if he stood by t
hat sentiment, LaCivita indicated his consideration was elsewhere.

“My focus is on electing Donald Trump the forty seventh president of the USA,” LaCivita informed CNN when requested about Good.

Some Trump allies who again Good are attempting to verify the previous president doesn’t undercut their colleague’s bid.

“I’ve accomplished all I can to elucidate to President Trump that his agenda will likely be executed to its greatest efficacy if we now have Bob Good in Congress,” Gaetz stated. “A preventing Republican Occasion will likely be there for President Trump. Bob Good leads the fighters.”

CNN’s Sheden Tesfaldet contributed to this report.

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