New Hampshire Democrats are trolling the state’s Republicans for bringing in former Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) to kick off the GOP’s 2020 campaign efforts in the Granite State, Breitbart News has learned.
New Hampshire Democratic Party chairman Raymond Buckley wrote in a letter to the state’s GOP chairman Stephen Stepanek that he “wanted to thank you for bringing Congressman Chaffetz to New Hampshire,” because Chaffetz in 2016 un-endorsed President Donald Trump.
“Bringing a former member of Congress who refused to endorse Donald Trump to the state to headline your 2020 Victory Kickoff Fundraiser shows that our two parties have more in common than we thought,” Buckley wrote in the letter to Stepanek, obtained by Breitbart News exclusively ahead of its public release.
The fact that Democrats are exploiting the Never Trump history of certain Republicans—Chaffetz was, like many Republicans in the lead-up to the 2016 election, hesitant to endorsee the president—is a new and sophisticated strategy of leveraging the establishment GOP and Never Trump movement to divide Republicans and create dissent in the ranks ahead of 2020.
Buckley continues in his letter by stating that New Hampshire Democrats “agree” with Chaffetz in comments he made in 2016 in the wake of the Access Hollywood tape’s release withdrawing his endorsement of then-candidate now-President Trump.
“We here at the New Hampshire Democratic Party agree with Chaffetz that no one ‘in good conscience’ could endorse Donald Trump for president,” Buckley wrote.
The letter cites a Politico article writing up a Chaffetz interview with a local news outlet in October 2016, where he said of Trump after the tape’s release: “I’m out.”
“I can no longer in good conscience endorse this person for president. It is some of the most abhorrent and offensive comments that you can possibly imagine,” Chaffetz said in the interview with local Utah television channel Fox 13 News.
Buckley’s letter to Stepanek continues by stating that New Hampshire Democrats and voters at large agree with Chaffetz’s comments later in October 2016, according to a CNN article cited, that he would not put his “good name and reputation and my family” behind Trump for president in 2016.
“The majority of Democrats and the majority of Granite Staters also agree with Chaffetz when he said, ‘I’m not going to put my good name and reputation and my family behind Donald Trump when he acts like this. I just can’t do it,’” Buckley wrote, citing Chaffetz from 2016.
The CNN article, however, did include a tweet from Chaffetz days before the 2016 election saying he would in fact vote for Trump because of how bad his Democrat rival Hillary Rodham Clinton was–even though it pained him to vote for Trump.
I will not defend or endorse @realDonaldTrump, but I am voting for him. HRC is that bad. HRC is bad for the USA.
— Jason Chaffetz (@jasoninthehouse) October 27, 2016
“Thank you again for bringing this anti-Trump surrogate to the state,” Buckley’s letter to Stepanek concludes. “We appreciate all you are doing to defeat Donald Trump in 2020.”
Chaffetz represented Utah’s third congressional district for many years. Toward the end of his career, he was the chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, before he stepped down from Congress in the summer of 2017. His seat was later filled by now-Rep. John Curtis (R-UT) in a special election. Chaffetz did end up coming around on Trump and was supportive of the president in his last weeks in office. He has since become a Fox News contributor.
While a handful of 2016-era Never Trumpers remain openly opposed to the president, most have either come around and backed him or receded from politics altogether. However, some Republicans who made Never Trump-aligned comments have attempted comebacks across the country and attempted to reform their relationships with the president and his supporters—but Democrats re-airing their critical comments may threaten those efforts.
Trump himself called the few Never Trumpers who remain actively opposed to him “dangerous” during an exclusive Oval Office interview with Breitbart News earlier this year.
“The Never Trumpers, that’s an amazing breed. First of all, they’re on mouth-to-mouth resuscitation now,” Trump said in the exclusive Oval Office interview with Breitbart News back in March. “There aren’t many of them left. But they’re still slightly dangerous.”