President Donald Trump endorsed Wyoming property rights attorney Harriet Hageman to challenge Rep. Liz Cheney immediately after she announced her decision to run on Thursday.
“Unlike RINO Liz Cheney, Harriet is all in for America First. Harriet has my Complete and Total Endorsement in replacing the Democrats’ number one provider of sound bites, Liz Cheney,” Trump wrote in a statement to reporters. “Make America Great Again!”
Earlier Thursday, Hageman announced her decision to run.
“Like many Wyomingites, I supported Liz Cheney when she ran for Congress,” Hageman said to the Casper Star-Tribune. “But then she betrayed Wyoming, she betrayed this country, and she betrayed me”:
Trump praised Hageman as a “fourth-generation daughter of Wyoming” and “a very successful attorney.”
The former president also noted that Hageman had “the support and respect” of current Sen. Cynthia Lummis (R-WY).
Cheney responded to Trump’s endorsement on social media with two words: “Bring it”:
Here’s a sound bite for you: Bring it. pic.twitter.com/VmET1JUs12
— Liz Cheney (@Liz_Cheney) September 9, 2021
Hageman’s sudden debut in the race demonstrates Trump was not satisfied with the existing field.
The former president met with two of the leading primary candidates in July — attorney Darin Smith and State Rep. Chuck Gray.
He did not meet with State Sen. Anthony Bouchard — possibly because he admitted impregnating a 14-year-old girl when he was 18.
Wyoming conservatives are eager to thin the number of conservative challengers to Cheney, reducing her chances to win.
In interviews with Breitbart News, both Gray and Smith indicated they would seriously consider exiting the race if Trump did not endorse them, but Bouchard did not.
“It wouldn’t be fair to the 12,000 donors, who have already given me support to fight this fight, to not stay in and fight for them,” he said.
Hageman, a water rights attorney, previously ran for governor of Wyoming in 2018 but fell to third place in a crowded primary, splitting the vote with Republican billionaire philanthropist Foster Friess.
In 2018, Trump endorsed Friess over Hageman in the Republican primary.
Friess won 25.6 percent of the vote while Hageman earned 21.5 percent, allowing the more moderate establishment candidate, Mark Gordon, to win the primary with 33.4 percent of the vote. Friess died in April at the age of 81.