Former President George W. Bush’s most recent donations to Republican candidates included maximum contributions to the campaigns of two Republicans who voted in favor of impeaching President Donald Trump.
Politico reports that the only donations made by the 43rd president in the year 2021 were to the campaigns of Congresswoman Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) and Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska). Bush gave the maximum possible amount of $5,800 to Cheney in October, while also giving $2,900 to Murkowski’s campaign. According to FEC filings, Bush had also previously donated to Cheney’s first campaign for the House of Representatives in 2016; Cheney is the daughter of Bush’s former Vice President Dick Cheney.
Both represent small portions of each candidates’ respective war chests, with Cheney finishing the year with $1.9 million and Murkowski raising $4.7 million; but the symbolism of the former president only donating to Republicans who voted to impeach President Trump speaks volumes about the ongoing divide between the previous generations of Republican leadership and the rising “America First” movement, led by Trump.
President Trump, by contrast, has publicly called on primary challengers to unseat all of the Republicans who voted in favor of his second impeachment, both in the House and in the Senate. There were 10 Republicans in the House who voted in favor of the article of impeachment falsely accusing President Trump of “inciting an insurrection” after the peaceful protest at the United States Capitol on January 6th, 2021; this was followed by 7 Republicans in the Senate voting with the Democrats to convict President Trump.
The efforts to challenge these 17 Republicans, particularly the 10 in the House, are seen as a watershed moment in the party’s future. Currently, three of the pro-impeachment representatives have since announced their retirements from Congress: Reps. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), John Katko (R-N.Y.), and Anthony Gonzalez (R-Ohio). Of the remaining seven, six are facing challengers: Reps. Cheney, Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.), Dan Newhouse (R-Wash.), Tom Rice (R-S.C.), Fred Upton (R-Mich.), and David Valadao (R-Calif.). The tenth, Congressman Peter Meijer (R-Mich.) has seen his district, previously the 6th district, combined with the former 2nd district into the new 4th congressional district due to redrawing of the state’s lines, pitting him against another incumbent Republican, Bill Huizenga.
Of the seven senators who voted for impeachment, two who were up for re-election this year have since announced their retirements: Senators Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Pat Toomey (R-Penn.). The only other pro-impeachment senator up for re-election this year is Murkowski, who is being challenged by Kelly Tshibaka, former commissioner of the Alaska Department of Administration; Tshibaka has been endorsed by President Trump. Out of the remaining four, three were re-elected in 2020 and thus will not be up for re-election again until 2026: Senators Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), and Ben Sasse (R-Neb.). Senator Mitt Romney, who was first elected in 2018, will be up for re-election again in 2024.