Republican Candidate Criticizes Trump’s Use of 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 in response to the former president’s targeting of a fellow GOP lawmaker currently serving in Florida.

In a post on Truth Social, Trump, the expected GOP nominee for the 2024 presidential election, recently questioned if there were any “great MAGA Republicans” considering a run against Representative Laurel Lee. Lee, a Florida Republican, currently represents the state’s 15th District. It’s worth noting that Lee previously served as Florida’s secretary of state under Governor Ron DeSantis and initially endorsed his 2024 presidential campaign. However, following DeSantis suspending his bid for president, she has shifted her support to Trump.

The congresswoman’s reelection campaign for 2024 is currently not being challenged by any GOP candidates. However, the former president has encouraged Republicans aligned with his MAGA movement who may be interested in running against Lee to step forward. This call to action has received pushback from some conservatives who also supported DeSantis’ presidential campaign against Trump.

“This is completely unhelpful and unwarranted,” Massie expressed on X, previously 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 later switched her endorsement to Trump when DeSantis dropped out of the race. It would be beneficial if more of my colleagues would speak out against these absurd bullying tactics.”

Representative Chip Roy, a Texas Republican who is also a supporter of DeSantis’ 2024 campaign, responded to Massie’s statement approximately an hour after it was posted, stating simply, “I am a co-sponsor.”

In an attempt to gather information and provide a balanced perspective, Newsweek has reached out to both Trump’s campaign and Lee’s office for comment via email.

Jackie Toledo, a former Florida state lawmaker who lost in the GOP congressional primary to Lee in 2022, is among the notable Trump supporters who have expressed their potential interest in running against Lee.

Toledo expressed her enthusiasm and readiness to serve as a dedicated Republican supporting the MAGA movement. She shared her sentiment on X, accompanied by a photo of herself donning a cowboy hat that proudly displays the message “Trump 2020.”

Laura Loomer, a controversial right-wing activist and former Republican congressional candidate in Florida, expressed her response to Trump’s criticism of Lee on X. In a social media post, she stated that she had received numerous phone calls from Republican officials urging her to run against Laurel Lee.

“As many of you may already know, @RepLaurelLee’s district is quite close to the area where I campaigned for Congress. During that time, I was able to raise an impressive $3 million. It’s worth noting that President Trump holds a favorable opinion of me, which undoubtedly has its advantages, don’t you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this matter.”

Former New York Representative George Santos, a staunch supporter of Trump who was expelled from Congress in December, also chimed in on Lee’s campaign. In a post on X, Santos expressed his love for Trump but disagreed with his stance on the Laurel Lee situation. He added, “Here are my two cents, for what they’re worth…”

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