GOP Reps Decry Threats They Received For Bucking Trump

UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 11: Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., speaks during the Problem Solvers Caucus press conference in the Capitol on Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)
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November 14, 2021 5:16 p.m.

Reps. Fred Upton (R-MI) and Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH) on Sunday lamented the threats they received after they broke ranks from former President Trump and their colleagues with the votes they cast in the past year. Both Upton and Gonzalez were among the handful of House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump for “incitement of insurrection earlier this year. Upton also faced backlash for supporting the bipartisan infrastructure bill earlier this month.

Appearing on CNN, Upton was asked what he attributes the threats he received for being among the 13 Republicans who helped pass BIF.

Upton replied that “it’s a sad day” to face threats for a bipartisan agreement on infrastructure. Some House Republicans have turned against their 13 colleagues who voted for BIF, which they paint as a “pathway to socialism” now that Democrats scored a legislative victory that the Trump administration failed to do. Additionally, GOP leadership is reportedly anticipating that rank-and-file lawmakers will organize an effort to strip committee assignments from members who supported BIF, according to Punchbowl News.

“We all know that we have a polarized electorate out there, divided government. This bill that I voted for that President Biden’s going to sign tomorrow, and it passed 69-30 in the Senate way back in August. It was a blueprint,” Upton said.

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Upton noted that he is a member of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, which agreed that BIF should be paid for without raising taxes.

“And that’s what we did with this bill, which was why it received overwhelming support in the Senate,” Upton said, referring to BIF’s passage in the Senate with 19 GOP senators on board, which included top Trump ally Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC).

Gonzalez echoed a similar sentiment when asked during an interview on CNN about receiving death threats after voting for Trump’s impeachment earlier this year.

Gonzalez said that although he entered office expecting to receive threats at some point, he didn’t think it would happen in that scenario.

“This will sound weird, and I don’t mean it to. It’ll sound flippant, but I always expected death threats in this job. So, that wasn’t a surprise,” Gonzalez said. “Unfortunately, it happened maybe sooner than I would like, and it happened in this way.”

After stating that the death threats he received weren’t the reason for deciding against running for re-election, citing a “lifestyle decision” for his family, Gonzalez stressed that “there is no legitimate place for political violence anywhere in this country.”

“And the fact that we have seen it and, I would argue, normalized it over the last two years sets our country back significantly,” Gonzalez said. “It’s one of the biggest things I’m worried about.”

Gonzalez went on to argue that despite how he disagrees with almost every policy of the Biden administration, the country “can’t survive torching the Constitution” before swiping at Trump for his efforts to delegitimize democracy.

“We have to hold fast to the Constitution. That needs to be the bedrock upon which we build our party and our movement,” Gonzalez said. “We have to be a party of ideas. We have to be a party of truth. And the cold, hard truth is, Donald Trump led us into a ditch on January 6. The former president lied to us. He lied to every one of us. And, in doing so, he cost us the House, the Senate and the White House.”

Gonzalez made clear that he thinks Trump shouldn’t be allowed to hold office again due to the election fraud falsehoods he pushed leading up to Jan. 6.

“I also see somebody who’s an enormous political loser,” Gonzalez said. “And I don’t know why anybody who wants to win elections going forward would follow that.”

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