Conservatives were quick to fire back at President Donald Trump after he lashed out at Republican Rep. Chip Roy, a staunchly conservative lawmaker from Texas, for voting against additional pandemic funding, suggesting he should face a primary challenger.
Unhappy with Roy’s decision to oppose the $2.2 trillion bill, Trump criticized the congressman in a tweet: “How can a Representative from Texas, and a very early supporter of mine, vote against Covid relief? Just doesn’t make sense, and therefore, he should be replaced in his next primary by a real Republican.”
The president’s harsh words were met with swift backlash from conservatives. In a tweet, Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) called Trump’s suggestion “idiotic.” “Chip is doing the job you were elected to do,” Buck wrote.
The rebuke from Buck was echoed by other conservatives, including radio host Charlie Kirk: “Speaker Pelosi was wrong to pass #COVIDrelief without any Republican vote, but also wrong for Trump to suggest a primary challenge to Republican Rep who held true to his principles. That’s not how a thriving two-party system works.”
The conservative magazine The Bulwark, meanwhile, called Trump’s embrace of a primary challenge to Roy “petulant and petty” and urged Republicans to stand up and defend colleagues who take principled stands.
The backlash from conservatives was indicative of a larger divide in the Republican Party between those who agree with Trump and those who oppose his views or methods. As Trump continues to target members of his own party, the rift only appears to be widening.