Donald Trump endorses Kentucky's GOP House members — even former foe Thomas Massie

·4 min read
A photo of Rep. Thomas Massie and President Donald Trump was featured in a campaign TV ad.
A photo of Rep. Thomas Massie and President Donald Trump was featured in a campaign TV ad.

Former President Donald Trump once derided U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie as a "third rate Grandstander" and suggested throwing him out of the GOP, but on Tuesday, he endorsed the Northern Kentucky Republican, who's up for reelection this year.

He also endorsed the Bluegrass State's four other Republican incumbents in the U.S. House of Representatives: Reps. Andy Barr, James Comer, Brett Guthrie and Hal Rogers, giving all of them (and Massie) his "Complete and Total Endorsement!"

"Congressman Thomas Massie is a Conservative Warrior for Kentucky’s 4th Congressional District!" Trump said in a statement. "An MIT graduate and a first-rate Defender of the Constitution, Thomas fights hard to Protect your Liberties, especially the First and Second Amendments, which are under siege by the Radical Left."

Massie, who joined Congress in 2012, has developed a reputation as a congressman who marches to his own beat. He got nicknamed "Mr. No" for voting, again and again, against legislation that has bipartisan support.

For example, this year he voted against legislation targeting Russia for invading Ukraine, and last year he voted against giving Congressional Gold Medals to the law enforcement agencies tasked with defending the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection. That insurrection tried and failed to overturn Trump's legitimate election loss to President Joe Biden.

Massie upset Trump in March 2020 when he tried to force the U.S. House of Representatives to hold a recorded vote when it passed a $2 trillion COVID-19 relief package. Many representatives flew into Washington, D.C., even as the pandemic erupted to foil his gambit.

At the time, Trump (who was still president then) said Massie just wanted publicity.

"Workers (and) small businesses need money now in order to survive," he tweeted. "Virus wasn’t their fault. It is 'HELL' dealing with the Dems, had to give up some stupid things in order to get the 'big picture' done. 90% GREAT! WIN BACK HOUSE, but throw Massie out of Republican Party!"

Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., speaks on the floor of the House of Representatives in March 2020.
Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., speaks on the floor of the House of Representatives in March 2020.

Massie also opposed the effort to contest the 2020 election results via Congress and criticized Trump after the Jan. 6 insurrection, saying he thought the then-president was "at fault here." (Since then, Massie has criticized the use of the term 'insurrection' to describe the Jan. 6 attack and raised questions about whether federal agents were agitating people at the Capitol on the day of the insurrection, even though there's no evidence that happened.)

More: Fact check: Claims of FBI role in Jan. 6 Capitol attack are false

Clearly, Trump isn't holding a grudge over any of that.

Massie faces two Republican opponents in next week's primary election: George Foking Washington of Corinth and Claire Wirth of Prospect. A third opponent, Alyssa Dara McDowell of Covington, said on Facebook she was dropping out of the race Tuesday after Trump endorsed Massie.

What Trump said in his other House endorsements

The former president put out statements endorsing Barr, Comer, Guthrie and Rogers as well, firing them off along with Massie's endorsement early Tuesday afternoon.

He praised Barr as a "fantastic Congressman," saying: "Andy is fighting to Grow our Economy, Protect our Country, Support our Military, Defend the Second Amendment, and Provide the Care our Brave Veterans Deserve."

Barr faces one primary opponent: Republican Derek Petteys of Lexington.

Former President Donald Trump reacts to the crowd before the beginning of the 148th Kentucky Derby.
May 07, 2022
Former President Donald Trump reacts to the crowd before the beginning of the 148th Kentucky Derby. May 07, 2022

Trump called Comer a "fantastic Congressman" too, saying:

"As the lead Republican on the (House) Oversight Committee, Jamie is fighting hard to hold Joe Biden and the Radical Left accountable for failing the American people, from covering up Hunter Biden’s blatant corruption to botching their abysmal withdrawal from Afghanistan. Jamie is working hard to Strengthen our Military, Protect our Veterans, Grow our Economy, Promote American Agriculture, and Defend the Second Amendment."

Comer is uncontested in the Republican primary for his seat.

Trump lauded Guthrie for the "outstanding job" he's doing, saying: "A West Point and Yale graduate, Brett worked closely with me and my Administration to stop the illegal flow of fentanyl into our communities. Brett is a Conservative Warrior who Strongly Supports our Military and Vets, Defends the Second Amendment, and Fiercely Advocates for Border Security."

Guthrie faces two GOP primary opponents: Brent Feher of Owensboro and Lee Watts of Lexington.

More: Hal Rogers makes Kentucky history as state's longest-serving member of Congress

Trump praised Rogers, who has represented Kentucky in Congress since the 1980s, as a "tireless advocate" for his constituents, saying:

"A brave Army National Guard veteran, Hal is working hard to Support our Military and Vets, Grow our Economy, Defend the Second Amendment, and Stop the Trafficking of Deadly Opioids into our Communities. As the Dean of the House, Hal continues to admirably serve our Country and the Commonwealth of Kentucky."

Rogers faces four Republican primary opponents: Jeannette Andrews of Lexington, Brandon Russell Monhollen of London, Gerardo Serrano of Manchester and Rich Van Dam of Somerset.

All five of Kentucky's Republican House members — Barr, Comer, Guthrie, Massie and Rogers — are widely expected to easily defeat their opponents in Kentucky's May 17 primary election.

Morgan Watkins is The Courier Journal's chief political reporter. Contact her at mwatkins@courierjournal.com. Follow her on Twitter: @morganwatkins26.

This article originally appeared on Louisville Courier Journal: Trump endorses Kentucky's GOP House members: Guthrie, Rogers, Massie