Trump calls for DeSantis supporter to face GOP primary challenger


Former President Donald Trump called for a Republican to challenge Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, on Monday night, even though the filing deadline to enter the congressional contest passed last week.

Roy is running unopposed in the Republican primary in Texas’ 21st district in March after no other candidate filed ahead of the Dec. 11 deadline. 

Trump’s late-night Truth Social post came after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis appeared on Fox News alongside Roy, who has been traversing Iowa with the GOP presidential contender during his congressional holiday break.

“People are thirsty for a new generation and new vision. Looking forward, not looking backwards, somebody who can serve for eight years,” Roy said on Fox News.

Roy, a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, was the first member of Congress to endorse DeSantis’ presidential bid back in March.

DeSantis praised Roy for having “one of the most consistent and strong conservative records” when asked about Trump’s comments during a campaign stop in Iowa on Tuesday.

“I do think it shows that you know, with Trump, it’s all about if you kiss the ring,” DeSantis said, noting that the former president has attacked another one of his prominent supporters, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds. “Attacking Chip, just because he’s supporting me, even though these are both people that have done really good work.”

Trump has been publicly critical of Roy since he voted to affirm Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory Jan. 6, 2021. Roy called Trump’s actions “clearly impeachable conduct” in the immediate aftermath of the riot at the U.S. Capitol, though he ultimately voted to not impeach Trump.

With the Iowa caucuses less than a month away, Trump has been increasingly critical of DeSantis and former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley on the campaign trail. Taking to Truth Social on Monday night, Trump compared DeSantis to a wounded bird violently falling from the sky and called his campaign staff a group of “misfits and grifters.”

Over the weekend, Trump was quick to denounce DeSantis’ polling numbers referencing an anticipated polling boost that he says never came.  

“With DeSanctimonious, they talk about the bounce. They’ve been talking about it for the last six months. And the only one that had a surge, and the only one that had a bounce is Trump,” he said to a Trump-loving crowd in Durham, New Hampshire, on Saturday.

Alec Hernández contributed.