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Freedom Caucus Chair Under Fire After Trump Endorses Primary Challenger

The former President Donald Trump has endorsed Virginia State Sen. John McGuire III over Freedom Caucus Chairman Bob Good in Virginia’s Fifth District Republican primary.

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The former President Donald Trump has made a key, and somewhat surprising, primary endorsement that could alter the balance of power within the GOP’s House ranks.

On Tuesday, Trump endorsed Virginia State Sen. John McGuire III over Freedom Caucus Chairman Bob Good (R-VA) in Virginia’s Fifth District Republican primary.


The former president made the announcement on Truth Social:

Bob Good is BAD FOR VIRGINIA, AND BAD FOR THE USA. He turned his back on our incredible movement, and was constantly attacking and fighting me until recently, when he gave a warm and “loving” Endorsement - But really, it was too late. The damage had been done! I just want to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN, and the person that can most help me do that is Navy Seal and highly respected State Legislator, John McGuire, a true American Hero. John, who fought the Cartels on the Front Line, and then came home and fought the drug dealers in Virginia, will ALWAYS PUT AMERICA FIRST. I had the safest Border in history, built hundreds of miles of Wall, and then Crooked Joe Biden came along and ruined it, making it one of the worst human catastrophes ever in our Country. John and I will correct this situation, and fast! He is strong on crime, will protect our great Military/Vets, and will always defend our under siege Second Amendment. John McGuire has my Complete and Total Endorsement! MAGA2024

Good, seeking his third term in Congress, will square off against McGuire, a former Navy SEAL, in the June 18 primary. The race will mark Good’s first real electoral test since elected to Congress in 2020. In his two previous primary races, Good has been chosen at Virginia GOP conventions, not a full primary. “He has, in effect, campaigned and legislated for those 2,000 people. I believe he has not represented the voices of everyone in his district, and I think that’s a real vulnerability,” McGuire previously said in an interview with USA Today.

Good issued a rejoinder to USA Today regarding McGuire’s comments:

I’ve done what I said I would do: I’ve fought for border security, I’ve fought for reduced federal spending, I’ve fought to protect our constitutional freedoms. I ran as a conservative and I’ve voted and legislated as a conservative.


Despite the fact that Good’s voting record is very aligned with Trump’s policy preferences, it appears that Trump is taking revenge on Good for endorsing Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in the GOP presidential primary before switching to Trump in January. McGuire has made Good’s DeSantis endorsement a pillar of his campaign: “Bob is never-Trump, John is an unwavering supporter of Trump,” a McGuire spokesperson claimed last week. It was all part of a sustained plea to the former president, who endorsed Good in 2022, to return the favor by switching sides on Good.

Trump’s endorsement carries profound implications for intra-conference dynamics in the House GOP next Congress. 

Good sent a statement by email to The American Conservative touting his credentials.

I have never been the choice of political power brokers in Washington.  The people of Virginia’s 5th District know me better than anyone, and I trust them.  I believe they will renominate me on June 18, because they understand and appreciate that I have fought for them during my 3 years in Washington.  

I am overwhelmingly supported by the grassroots GOP leaders and local elected officials in the 5th District.  I received the largest number of votes—210,000—of any congressional candidate in the history of the 5th District when I first ran in 2020.  I was elected by an even greater margin—57%—when I ran a second time in 2022. ...

I am also supported by conservative groups Club for Growth, House Freedom Action, Heritage Action, Family Research Council PAC, Eagle Forum PAC, NRA, Gun Owners of America, National Association of Gun Rights, and more.

They all know I am the true conservative in this race who is committed to reversing the Biden agenda and putting America back on track to be great again as it was in President Trump’s first term.

My opponent does not have an America-first conservative record in the General Assembly. That is why he is supported by the RINO moderate establishment wing of the Republican Party. And it is why he is funded by allies of the former Speaker who is directing the dark super PAC money in support of his campaign.  

The people of Virginia’s 5th District will not let this seat be bought by the DC and CA swamp. We will prevail for America First on June 18.

He listed two dozen endorsements, including from Trump’s former chief of staff, Mark Meadows, and Sens. Mike Lee (R-UT), Rand Paul (R-KY), and Rick Scott (R-FL), as well as fellow Reps. Eli Crane (R-AZ), Matt Gaetz (R-FL), and Chip Roy (R-TX).

Members of the House Freedom Caucus, which named Good its chair in January of 2024, are widely perceived as being some of the most Trump-aligned members of Congress. Several Freedom Caucus members, such as Reps. Crane, Jim Jordan (R-OH), Lauren Boebert (R-CO), Mary Miller (R-IL), and Troy Nehls (R-TX), have received Trump endorsements themselves. Meadows, Trump’s former White House chief of staff and a former congressman, was a Freedom Caucus member when he was in the House. 

Nevertheless, the Freedom Caucus and its members at times have squared off against directives coming out of Mar-a-Lago.

At the beginning of the 118th Congress, Trump encouraged House Republicans to rally behind former Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), but members of the House Freedom caucus, along with allies such as Florida’s Rep. Gaetz, continued to oppose McCarthy’s bid for 15 consecutive rounds of voting. The Freedom Caucus and its allies were able to extract several important concessions from McCarthy in exchange for the gavel, such as increased representation on the House Rules Committee, House rules that would prevent leadership from shoving legislation upon members with little time to consider or debate it, and the all important motion to vacate.

House Freedom Caucus members once again featured prominently when McCarthy, who proved unable to hold up his end of the bargain, was vacated from the speakership in October 2023. Trump mostly stayed behind the scenes when McCarthy was ousted and replaced. While Gaetz claimed he believed the president supported his maneuver, Trump denied orchestrating the vacate effort; however, Trump’s denial was not an outright rejection of Gaetz’s motion to vacate.

But Trump has seemingly grown tired of the rough and tumble between House Republicans. He has remained a steadfast supporter of House Speaker Mike Johnson, even when some conservative House members and members of the Freedom Caucus flirted with possibly vacating Johnson for caving to Democrats on appropriations, FISA, and a supplemental aid package for Ukraine. A motion to vacate effort spearheaded by Reps. Marjorie Taylor Green (R-GA) and Thomas Massie (R-KY) against Johnson ultimately failed.

Now, the forces that the Freedom Caucus have at one point or another frustrated in the past two years are teaming up to take out the caucus’s chairman. Trump is not the only prominent Republican to bestow his blessing on McGuire; McCarthy and his allies are boosting McGuire to beat Good, too. If the chairman of the Freedom Caucus is taken out, and if Trump plays a large role in that outcome, the Freedom Caucus may find itself sidelined come January 2025.