Republican Congressman Anthony Gonzalez (OH), known for being one of the 10 GOP House members to vote for the impeachment of former President Donald Trump following the Jan.6 unrest at the Capitol, has announced that he will not run for re-election next year, as the Washington Examiner reports.
The former college and professional football standout explained to the New York Times this week that two terms in the lower chamber have been enough for him, and that he finds it challenging to split his time between the nation’s capital and his Cleveland home.
Political observers, however, understand that another key reason for Gonzalez’s decision to step aside is that he would be facing an extremely difficult primary battle due to his history of vehemently anti-Trump comments, including his description of the former commander in chief as “a cancer for the country.”
Indeed, back in February Trump issued a formal endorsement of Max Miller, a former White House aide who launched a primary bid against Gonzalez, as Politico noted at the time, saying, “Current Rep. Anthony Gonzalez should not be representing the people of the 16th District because he does not represent their interest or their heart. Max Miller has my Complete and Total Endorsement!”
Lamenting the present state of the GOP, Gonzalez stated amid the announcement of his decision, “Politically, the environment is so toxic, especially in our own party right now. You can fight your butt off and win this thing, but are you really going to be happy? And the answer is, probably not.”
Blasting what he sees as Trump’s ongoing and detrimental influence on his party, Gonzalez also expressed disdain for the “chaotic political environment that currently infects our country,” though he added that those who have supported him are what give him hope that the state of affairs “will only be temporary.”
The feud between Trump and Gonzalez shows no signs of abating, with the latter declaring, “I don’t believe [Trump] can ever be president again,” and pledging, “Most of my political energy will be spent working on that exact goal.”
In the aftermath of Gonzalez’s statement about his plans for 2022, Trump hailed the news, saying that the soon-to-be ex-legislator’s impeachment vote was “ill-informed and otherwise very stupid,” and that “This is no loss for Ohio or our country. Good riddance to Anthony, he can no get himself a job at ratings-dead CNN on MSDNC!”
Though Gonzalez’s political star may indeed be fading, evidence continues to mount that the former president is poised to launch a comeback ahead of the 2024 contest the likes of which few – especially congressional never-Trumpers – would have predicted at the start of this year.