Former President Donald Trump endorsed Idaho Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin’s bid to primary Gov. Brad Little, as the former president looks to further remake the Republican Party in his image.
Trump’s Tuesday evening endorsement of McGeachin does not mention or even allude to Little, who first won the office in 2018. Instead, Trump praises her as “a true supporter of MAGA since the very beginning” who has his “Complete and Total Endorsement” to be the next governor of the state.
McGeachin and Little have been locked in a bizarre power struggle, as she challenges him. On several occasions when Little has left the state, McGeachin has used her authority as acting governor to issue executive orders often in relation to various pandemic-related mandates, which she has tried to ban. Little has then rescinded those orders.
A spokesperson for Little did not immediately return a request for comment. A spokesperson for the Republican Governors Association noted that the RGA supports its incumbent governors, but did not comment further.
McGeachin wrote in a tweet that it was “a great honor” to receive Trump’s endorsement, and that there’s “much more to come from the two of us.”
Big problem for Little: Trump’s endorsement of McGeachin could present an existential challenge for Republicans. Unlike other Republican governors the now-former president has raged against — including Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine — Little has done little to draw Trump’s ire, at least publicly.
Recently, Little tweeted that it was “an honor to be recognized” by Trump at an event. Trump gave Little a brief shoutout at a gala for the America First Policy Institute, a nonprofit closely aligned with the former president, held at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate on Nov. 4.
“We also have Gov. Brad Little, who is a terrific gentleman,” Trump said a week ago. “Thank you Brad. He’s working on a project.”
Trump’s endorsement suggests that deference may not be enough to stop the former president from cannon-balling into any election.
Ximena Bustillo contributed to this report.
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