Trump says he'll meet with Cheney challengers ahead of endorsement

Former President TrumpDonald TrumpMeghan McCain: Democrats 'should give a little credit' to Trump for COVID-19 vaccine Trump testing czar warns lockdowns may be on table if people don't get vaccinated Overnight Health Care: CDC details Massachusetts outbreak that sparked mask update | White House says national vaccine mandate 'not under consideration at this time' MORE will meet with Rep. Liz CheneyElizabeth (Liz) Lynn CheneyPhotos of the Week: Olympic sabre semi-finals, COVID-19 vigil and a loris Jordan acknowledges talking to Trump on Jan. 6 Stefanik calls Cheney 'Pelosi pawn' over Jan. 6 criticism MORE’s (R-Wyo.) primary challengers at his New Jersey golf club next week as he looks to make an endorsement in the race to oust one of his most prominent Republican critics.

Trump announced the upcoming meetings in a statement issued through his political action committee (PAC) Save America, underscoring the need for Republicans to coalesce behind a single candidate in the primary against Cheney. 

“This is a ‘hot’ race with some very interesting candidates running against her. Remember though, in the end we just want ONE CANDIDATE running against Cheney,” Trump said. “I'll be meeting with some of her opponents in Bedminster next week and will be making my decision on who to endorse in the next few months. JUST ONE CANDIDATE. Thank you!”

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Trump has been hellbent on ousting Cheney since January, when she broke party lines in a vote to impeach him for his role in the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol. While Trump was ultimately acquitted in a Senate vote, he has vowed to campaign against Republicans who backed his impeachment.

Since the January impeachment vote, Cheney has continued to criticize the former president, especially over his repeated and baseless claims that the 2020 presidential election had been stolen from him. That criticism prompted House Republicans to oust her in May as their conference chairwoman.

Cheney was picked by Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOn The Money: Justice Department says Trump's tax returns should be released | Democrats fall short of votes for extending eviction ban House adjourns for recess without passing bill to extend federal eviction ban Photos of the Week: Olympic sabre semi-finals, COVID-19 vigil and a loris MORE (D-Calif.) to serve on a House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.

So far, half-a-dozen Republicans have lined up to challenge Cheney in her 2022 primary, including state Sen. Anthony Bouchard and state Rep. Chuck Gray. 

In his statement on Tuesday, Trump said that “some highly respected pollsters” have told him that Cheney is “toast,” though it wasn’t clear whom he was referring to. 

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Public polling in the race remains scarce, but Cheney has continued to rake in large sums of money despite her status as persona non grata in Trump World. She raised nearly $1.9 million in the second quarter of the year, far outpacing any of her primary challengers. 

Bouchard, by comparison, raised about $213,000 between April 1 and June 30, according to his filings with the Federal Election Commission (FEC), while Gray’s campaign pulled in about $221,000. Another challenger, former Laramie County GOP Chair Darin Smith, raised $171,000. 

Still, a Trump endorsement is expected to go a long way in the race to replace Cheney, given Wyoming’s strong Republican tilt and the former president’s 43-point margin of victory there in the 2020 election.

Speaking to reporters at the Capitol on Tuesday, Cheney cast her primary race as a choice between the U.S. Constitution and the former president.

“The people of Wyoming are gonna have a very clear choice between somebody who is loyal to the Constitution and somebody whose claim is loyalty to Donald Trump, and I'm confident that people will make the right decision,” Cheney said.

--Scott Wong contributed.