President Trump on Friday encouraged South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem to launch a primary challenge in 2022 against Sen. John Thune, the No. 2-ranking Republican in the U.S. Senate.
“I hope to see the great Governor of South Dakota @KristiNoem, run against RINO @SenJohnThune, in the upcoming 2022 Primary,” Mr. Trump said on Twitter.
Mr. Trump said last month that Mr. Thune - who the president called “Mitch’s boy” - will be primaried in 2022, though he didn’t offer specific potential challengers.
“She would do a fantastic job in the U.S. Senate, but if not Kristi, others are already lining up,” Mr. Trump said of Ms. Noem on Friday. “South Dakota wants strong leadership, NOW!”Mr. Thune shrugged off the attack.
“It’s fine,” he told reporters. “I’m not sure what I did to be deserving of all that, but that’s fine. I’m not sure that anything changes his mind once he makes it up.”
Mr. Thune likely earned the president’s ire for saying that House Republicans’ push to challenge the Electoral College results on Jan. 6 would go down like a “shot dog” in the Senate.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski, Alaska Republican, said there are better things Mr. Trump could be doing with his New Year’s Day.
“I think it’s quite interesting that he has demanded a loyalty test from so many Republicans and then when they are loyal to him and there is one incident, one statement and he is the first one to throw those loyal individuals under the bus,” Ms. Murkowski said.
Ms. Noem said last month that she would not be challenging Mr. Thune and that she plans to run for re-election in 2022.
Some supporters have floated Ms. Noem as a potential contender for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024, when Mr. Trump could also give it another go for the White House.