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Monday July 26th, 2021 12:45PM

Trump: Liz Cheney opponents to meet with him pre-endorsement

By The Associated Press
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CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Donald Trump will meet with Republicans running against Rep. Liz Cheney next week, and endorse one in the next few months, the former president said in a statement Tuesday.

Trump will meet with them in Bedminster, New Jersey, home of the Trump National Golf Club Bedminster, where he has moved for the summer. He didn’t specify who would be there.

Cheney has “some very interesting candidates running against her" but the field of opponents should eventually be narrowed down to just one, Trump said in the statement.

Quite a few candidates who don't win Trump's endorsement or are otherwise disfavored would need to drop out for a single candidate to oppose Cheney in the 2022 GOP primary. The Wyoming Legislature in March defeated a Donald Trump Jr.-backed proposal for runoff primary elections.

So far, at least seven Republicans have said they're running against Cheney following her vote to impeach Trump for his role in the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.

They include Cheyenne attorney and businessman Darin Smith; retired U.S. Army Col. Denton Knapp, who has said he's headed back to Wyoming after living elsewhere since high school; state Sen. Anthony Bouchard of Cheyenne; and state Rep. Chuck Gray of Casper. None immediately answered on the record Tuesday if they planned to meet with Trump or would agree to drop out if they didn't get his endorsement.

Cheney is the elder daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney. First elected in 2016, she is Wyoming's lone representative in the U.S. House.

Her vote to impeach Trump and not back down from blaming him for the riot caused fellow Republicans to vote Cheney out a high-ranking House GOP leadership post in May.

House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi recently named Cheney and seven Democrats to a committee to investigate the riot. House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy announced Monday he'd chosen five Republicans for the panel.

Cheney has said she voted to impeach Trump in defense of the Constitution. Asked about Trump's statement Monday, Cheney spokesman Jeremy Adler pointed out a May interview on NBC's “Today” show where she was asked about the field of opponents.

“Bring it on,” Cheney said.

___

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