Former President Donald Trump is facing a backlash after calling one of the most conservative members of Congress a RINO who should be primaried—one week after the filing deadline. Trump blasted Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas), a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, on Truth Social after the congressman endorsed Trump’s rival, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, for president.
“Has any smart and energetic Republican in the Great State of Texas decided to run in the Primary against RINO Congressman Chip Roy,” Trump wrote. “For the right person, he is very beatable. If interested, let me know!!!”
Trump’s comments appeared to many to be off the mark, as Roy has a 98 percent conservative voting record according to Heritage Action, and is the only Republican who scored a “perfect zero” on voting for Biden’s agenda in 2022, according to Rollcall.
Reps. Lauren Boebert of Colorado, Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, Clay Higgins of Louisiana and Bob Good of Virginia and then-Rep. Van Taylor of Texas each voted with Biden on 1 percent of votes in which CQ Roll Call determined the president had a clear position. Because there were only 66 presidential support votes in the House last year, that 1 percent equates to one vote.
Also, as Iowa-based conservative radio host Steve Deace pointed out, the candidate filing deadline for the 2024 primary elections in Texas was December 11, 2023.
“Is anything more Trumpian than threatening one of the only truly honest members of Congress because he doesn’t kneel before Zod, but also stupidly doing so more than a week after the filing deadline?” Deace wrote on X. “Trumpian bluster followed by a Trumpian lack of attention to detail.”
Is anything more Trumpian than threatening one of the only truly honest members of Congress because he doesn’t kneel before Zod, but also stupidly doing so more than a week after the filing deadline? Trumpian bluster followed by a Trumpian lack of attention to detail. pic.twitter.com/M75IUrtB1A
— Steve Deace (@SteveDeaceShow) December 19, 2023
“We ‘RINOs’ just doing our thing,” Roy joked on Twitter on X:
— Chip Roy (@chiproytx) December 19, 2023
“Elise Stefanik votes to reauthorize 702 but she’s fine because she does corny thumbs-up pictures with Trump,” wrote RedState’s “Bonchie,” referring to the temporary extension of Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) in Congress, last week. “Chip Roy votes against it and publicly decries Republican failure, and he’s a RINO that needs to be primaried—Makes sense,” Bonchie added.
Justin Hart, the founder of Rational Ground and author of Gone Viral: How Covid Drove the World Insane, also blasted the former president: “Trump is out of him mind. Chip Roy is arguably the most consistently conservative Republican in Congress,” he wrote on X. “But Trump is the Godfather and has ordered a hit on him for personal vendetta reasons. Unbelievable.”
Conservative journalist Stephen L. Miller argued that Trump is the one with the questionable conservative record: “Trump, who caved on bump stocks and Fauci, is calling Chip Roy of Texas a RINO and to be primaried. It’s just laughable at this point. It’s laughably insane. Run it back, guys,” Miller wrote.
“Allow me to translate this from Magadonian,” offered conservative podcaster Josh Power. “Chip Roy is a highly effective, genuine constitutional conservative who endorses DeSantis and won’t bend the knee and kiss Trump’s rear end, and therefore, Trump wants to run him from office. Typical stupid, nasty Trump stuff.”
Even some of Trump’s most ardent supporters cried foul.
“I am supporting Trump in the primary but I disagree with this,” wrote Shawn Farash, who is known for his funny and spot-on Trump impersonations.
“Chip Roy is not a RINO simply because he is behind another candidate. We can’t just call people RINO’s over a mere difference of opinion,” Farash continued. “Roy has been one of the most conservative members of Congress for a while. Could this just be gamesmanship? Maybe. But it’s totally unnecessary.”
Trump did draw support from some X users who agreed with his take.
“Trump is right,” one said. “Chip Roy is all talk.” Another user wrote: “Roy sadly turned RINO a couple of years ago.”
Trump and Roy have a history of clashing dating back to early 2021 when the congressman gave a speech on the House floor calling Trump’s actions leading up to the January 6 riot “impeachable conduct.” However, he did not vote with Democrats to impeach the then-president.
Later in 2021, Trump denounced Roy’s bid to become the GOP conference chair, saying in a statement that “he has not done a great job, and will probably be successfully primaried in his own district.”
Trump endorsed Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) who became the chair after winning the vote.
In an appearance with DeSantis on Fox News’ “Hannity,” Monday night, Roy criticized Trump’s record on one of his strongest issues.
“Ron DeSantis “will actually sign” border security legislation “unlike Pres. Trump, who in 2018, was siding with Paul Ryan to try to pass an amnesty-first rather than a border security-first bill, which left us with the situation we’re facing right now,” Roy told substitute host Kayleigh McEnany.
CHIP ROY: Ron DeSantis “will actually sign” border security legislation “unlike Pres. Trump, who in 2018, was siding with Paul Ryan to try to pass an amnesty-first rather than a border security-first bill, which left us with the situation we’re facing right now” pic.twitter.com/hvYbU2OLrK
— DeSantis War Room 🐊 (@DeSantisWarRoom) December 19, 2023
“We’re for principles, not princes. We don’t coronate anybody,” Roy said.
Texas Rep Chip Roy rips Trump for letting Fauci run the show and giving him and award while Ron DeSantis was fighting COVID tyranny:
“DeSantis is a proven winner who will stand athwart tyranny, not give it a medal.”pic.twitter.com/693iY8L4GR
— Michael P Senger (@michaelpsenger) December 19, 2023
DeSantis blasted Trump in his own comment on X Tuesday, and said he was “honored” to have Roy’s support.
“While @chiproytx is fighting to do what Donald Trump promised to do—secure our southern border—the former president is on social media demanding a primary challenge to one of the most conservative members of Congress (even though the Texas primary filing deadline was over a week ago.),” the Florida governor wrote. “I stand with Chip and am honored to have his support. The time for talking is over. We must stop the invasion, and I will get it done.”