In an interview with Dana Bash on CNN yesterday, Rep. Mark Sanford (R-S.C.), a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, discussed threats President Trump made in the form of potentially supporting a primary challenger against him in 2018.
The threat by Trump, via his budget director Mick Mulvaney, was in response to Sanford’s plan to vote against proposed GOP legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare earlier in the year. Sanford said other Republicans similarly opposed to Trump’s healthcare legislation were also threatened with being “primaried.”
Sanford had previously discussed the threat in a South Carolina newspaper article.
“The president asked me to look you square in the eyes and to say that he hoped that you voted ‘no’ on this bill so he could run [a primary challenger] against you in 2018,” Sanford quoted Mulvaney as saying at the time.
Significantly, Politico reported today that a number of high profile Republicans are saying “President Donald Trump needs to turn things around fast — or the GOP could pay dearly in 2018.”
With the party preparing to defend its congressional majorities in next year’s midterms, senior Republicans are expressing early concern about Trump’s lack of legislative accomplishments, his record-low approval ratings, and the overall dysfunction that’s gripped his administration.
It certainly doesn’t sound like Trump is in a position to threaten anyone.