Republican Criticizes Trump’s ‘Ridiculous Bullying Tactics’ in Florida Race

Kentucky Republican Representative Thomas Massie took to social media on Monday to criticize Donald Trump’s “ridiculous bullying tactics.” Massie’s comments came after the former president targeted a fellow GOP lawmaker currently serving in Florida.

In a recent Truth Social post on Sunday night, Donald Trump, the anticipated GOP nominee in the 2024 presidential race, questioned if any “great MAGA Republicans” were considering a run against Representative Laurel Lee, a Florida Republican representing the state’s 15th District. Lee, who previously held the position of Florida’s secretary of state under Governor Ron DeSantis, initially endorsed DeSantis’ 2024 presidential campaign last spring. However, after DeSantis halted his presidential bid, Lee shifted her allegiance to Trump.

The congresswoman’s reelection campaign for 2024 is currently unopposed by any GOP candidates. However, the former president has encouraged Republicans aligned with his MAGA movement, who might be interested in challenging Lee, to come forward. This call to action has received pushback from several conservatives who also supported DeSantis’ presidential campaign against Trump.

“This is unhelpful and unwarranted,” Massie criticized on X, formerly known as Twitter, on Monday afternoon. He highlighted that “@RepLaurelLee is a conservative and thoughtful member of the judiciary committee. She initially endorsed DeSantis for President but switched her endorsement to Trump after DeSantis dropped out of the race. It would be beneficial if more of my colleagues would speak up against these absurd bullying tactics.”

Representative Chip Roy, a Texas Republican who also supported DeSantis’ 2024 campaign, promptly responded to Massie’s statement, stating, “I am a co-sponsor.”

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Newsweek has contacted Trump’s campaign and Lee’s office via email for comment.

Several notable Trump supporters have expressed their potential interest in running against Lee. One such individual is Jackie Toledo, a former Florida state lawmaker who was defeated by Lee in the GOP congressional primary of 2022.

Toledo proudly declared her allegiance to the MAGA movement by posting on X, stating, “I am a dedicated MAGA Republican, ready to step up and serve… #MAGA.” Accompanying her message was a photo of Toledo sporting a cowboy hat emblazoned with the words “Trump 2020.”

Laura Loomer, a far-right activist and former Republican congressional candidate in Florida, shared her response to Trump’s criticism of Lee on X. In a social media post, she expressed that she had received “over 22 phone calls from Republican officials today urging me to run against Laurel Lee.”

“As many of you may already know, @RepLaurelLee’s district is actually quite close to the district where I ran for Congress. It’s worth mentioning that during my campaign, I managed to raise an impressive $3 million. I believe it’s safe to say that President Trump has shown his support for me, which has undoubtedly been beneficial. I’m curious to hear what all of you think about this.”

Former New York Representative George Santos, a dedicated supporter of President Trump who was removed from Congress in December, also expressed his views on Lee’s campaign. He shared his thoughts on X, saying, “I love Trump and believe he is completely mistaken about the Laurel Lee situation. Here are my two cents, for what they’re worth…”

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