Trump endorses challenger to Herrera Beutler over impeachment vote

Former President Trump on Wednesday endorsed Joe Kent, a Washington state Republican waging a challenge to Rep. Jaime Herrera BeutlerJaime Lynn Herrera BeutlerThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Democrats argue price before policy amid scramble The Memo: Never Trumpers sink into gloom as Gonzalez bows out Kinzinger says Trump 'winning' because many Republicans 'have remained silent' MORE, who was one of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump for his role in inciting the Jan. 6 insurrection.

Trump said he first met Kent, an Army Special Forces veteran, in 2019 after Kent’s wife was killed fighting the Islamic State in Syria. The former president praised his service and said he would be a loyal fighter for his agenda.

“Joe served his country proudly for many years and understands the tremendous cost of America's wars in the Middle East, and elsewhere. In Congress, Joe will be a warrior for the America First agenda, unlike Jaime Herrera Beutler who voted, despite the facts, against the Republican Party and for the Democrats' Impeachment Scam,” Trump said in a statement.

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The endorsement makes good on Trump’s promise to continue going after GOP lawmakers who backed his impeachment or conviction earlier this year. He’s already endorsed primary challengers to Rep. Anthony GonzalezAnthony GonzalezEx-Trump aide sues Grisham over abuse allegations Juan Williams: GOP's assault on voting rights is the real fraud The Memo: Trump's Arizona embarrassment sharpens questions for GOP MORE (R-Ohio), who voted for impeachment, and Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiAnti-Trump Republicans endorsing vulnerable Democrats to prevent GOP takeover GOP rallies around Manchin, Sinema McConnell gets GOP wake-up call MORE (R-Alaska), who voted for his conviction in the Senate trial.

Kent responded to the endorsement by saying he’s “honored” and “ready to take our country back!”

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Herrera Beutler emerged as a prominent figure during the impeachment saga.

The Washington Republican, who was elected in 2010, revealed in the midst of the Senate’s impeachment trial in February that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthySchiff: McCarthy 'will do whatever Trump tells him' if GOP wins back House House GOP campaign arm raises .8 million in third quarter McCarthy raises nearly M so far this year MORE (R-Calif.) relayed a conversation to her that he had with Trump during the insurrection in which Trump said that the rioters were “more upset about the election than you are.”

Her vote for impeachment and her revelation of the conversation have landed her in hot water with Republicans, earning her a censure from the Clark County Republican Party in February.

Kent is among several challengers running against Herrera Beutler but has recently seen his profile rise, appearing on several conservative television and radio shows to reflect on the bungled evacuation in Afghanistan and his own military service.

While Herrera Beutler has successfully held her seat since winning it in 2010, her district, which overlaps with much of the Portland, Ore., media market, has been a top target for Democrats in recent cycles. Washington state does not have partisan primaries, so Kent will not directly challenge her for a GOP nomination.

Her campaign dismissed Trump's endorsement, noting she ran ahead of him in the district in 2020.

"Jaime ran well ahead of President Trump in both elections they were on the same ballot. Voters here in Southwest Washington know she works hard and gets results for them," said Parker Truax, Herrera Beutler's campaign manager.