Former president Donald Trump took credit at a rally with his supporters this weekend for Rep. John Katko’s decision to drop his bid for a fifth term in Congress.
Trump, speaking at the rally in Florence, Ariz., referred to the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach him for inciting a mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
The former president has vowed to “get rid of” all 10 House members by backing GOP opponents in primary elections.
Trump told the crowd that one of the 10 Republicans– Rep. Adam Kinzinger – decided against seeking reelection because “he didn’t have the courage to run.”
“And we just lost Katko too,” Trump said. “He’s gone now too. They’re falling fast and furious. The ones that voted to impeach, we’re getting rid of them fast.”
Katko, R-Camillus, on Friday became the third of the 10 House Republicans to end their reelection campaign since the impeachment vote.
Rep. Anthony Gonzalez, R-Ohio, faced with a primary challenge from former Trump adviser Max Miller, announced in September that he would not seek a new term in 2022. Gonzalez called Trump “a cancer for the country” as he bowed out of the race.
Trump offered last summer to help back a candidate who would challenge Katko on the Republican and Conservative Party ballot lines in this year’s primary election. The election will be June 28.
Since then, three Republicans – all political novices – launched primary campaigns against Katko. Trump has not yet offered an endorsement.
Katko said Friday he decided against seeking reelection “so that I can enjoy my family and life in a fuller and more present way.” He and his wife, Robin, lost all four of their parents over the past three years.
“To say that those gut-wrenching times provided life-changing perspective for me is putting it mildly,” Katko said.
Katko, through a spokesperson, declined to comment Monday on Trump’s remarks.
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