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Former president Donald Trump gloated as Ohio representative Anthony Gonzalez, one of ten Republicans who voted to impeach former president Donald Trump for inciting the 6 January US Capitol riot, announced he will not run for re-election in 2022.
Mr Trump had already endorsed Mr Gonzalez’s primary opponent Max Miller and railed against the Ohio Republican in a statement, calling him a Republican in name only.
“RINO Congressman Anthony Gonzalez, who has poorly represented his district in the Great State of Ohio, has decided to quit after enduring a tremendous loss of popularity, of which he had little, since his ill-informed and otherwise very stupid impeachment vote against the sitting President of the United States, me,” he said.
In a statement issued on Thursday, Mr Gonzalez, a two-term lawmaker and father of two children, said it was the best path for him and his family.
“While my desire to build a fuller family life is at the heart of my decision, it is also true that the current state of our politics, especially many of the toxic dynamics inside our own party, is a significant factor in my decision,” Mr Gonzalez said in a statement.
The GOP representative added that he believed the “chaotic political environment that currently infects our country” is temporary.
See my full statement below regarding my decision not to seek re-election. pic.twitter.com/vsggxjD1FI
— Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (@RepAGonzalez) September 17, 2021
Mr Gonzalez would have faced Max Miller in the 2022 primary. Mr Trump has endorsed primary challengers to some of the 10 Republicans who voted to impeach him, including Mr Miller, in what is viewed as a retaliation for the stand the GOP members took.
Mr Gonzalez called the former president “a cancer for the country” in an interview with The New York Times. “I don’t believe he can ever be president again. Most of my political energy will be spent working on that exact goal,” he added.
He added that the period after he voted to oust Mr Trump was “eye-opening”.
He spoke about an incident at the Cleveland airport, where two uniformed police officers greeted his family. The police officers escorted them as part of new, heightened security arrangements.
“That’s one of those moments where you say, ‘Is this really what I want for my family when they travel, to have my wife and kids escorted through the airport?’” he said.