Gonzalez, 36, is the first of ten Republicans in the House of Representatives to vote for impeachment against Trump to end his career in Congress. Gonzalez told the New York Times, which first reported on his retirement plans Thursday, that the animus he and his family faced from Trump’s ardent supporters played a role in his decision.
“Politically, the environment is so toxic, especially in our own party right now,” he said. “You can fight your bum and win this thing, but are you going to be really happy? And the answer probably isn’t.”
Trump has already backed a Republican challenger, former White House aide Max Miller, despite Ohio – like all states – in the process of redrawing the county lines following last year’s census.
“This is no loss to Ohio or our country, and most importantly, we have a great candidate who essentially led Gonzalez in the polls, Max Miller, whom I gave my full and complete approval,” Trump said in his statement.
Ohio loses one of its 16 congressional districts. Gonzalez insisted that if he had run he would have been victorious, although he admitted that he might not have been happy to continue serving in a party that is increasingly on Trump’s face.
Cheney, whose criticism of Trump cost her a place in the leadership of the House GOP, responded to Trump’s barb in Gonzalez by stating that Friday is the annual commemoration of the ratification of the U.S. Constitution in 1787.
“On Constitution Day, Donald Trump’s statement about MP Anthony Gonzalez reminds us once again that Trump is at war with the Constitution,” Cheney wrote on Twitter.
Trump recently backed Wyoming attorney Harriet Hageman in his drive to oust Cheney and on Friday reiterated his intention to take revenge on Republicans who voted for his second impeachment.
“1 down, 9 to go!”, He said in a second statement.