On Thursday, CNN reported that local Republicans in Ohio are enraged at Rep. Anthony Gonzalez after he voted to impeach former President Donald Trump for incitement of insurrection in the Capitol invasion.
Gonzalez, a former football star who played for the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Indianapolis Colts, represents the rural areas just outside Cleveland, Akron, and Canton.
“Gonzalez, who declined an interview with CNN, has argued that Trump’s rhetoric at the ‘Stop the Steal’ rally ahead of the January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol and the fact that Trump did little to stop those actions swayed him to back the impeachment charges,” reported Dan Merica. “Top party officials tell CNN that Gonzalez could lose his seat over that decision with a number of candidates actively considering a primary challenge. One Republican candidate, Jonah Schulz, has already declared a bid.”
“This is like him playing for the Buckeyes again, getting down to the two-minute warning, running into the locker room, getting a Michigan jersey and running back out,” said Shannon Burns, head of a local political organization called Strongsville GOP. “It’s not that you turned your back or you did something that we didn’t like. You did the unthinkable.”
One local voter who backed Gonzalez in 2020, Mike Ryan, had a blunter comment: “He’s a traitor.”
Ten House Republicans voted to impeach Trump for his role in spreading the the conspiracy theories that led to the Capitol riot, and his subsequent refusal to send help or call off the mob until people were dead. Seven Senate Republicans then voted to convict him — a record rebuke for members of a president’s party during an impeachment vote, but short of the 67 total votes needed.
Most of these lawmakers, like Gonzalez, have faced sharp opposition from their party.