Former Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows played an early role in convincing Harriet Hageman to run against Liz Cheney
- Mark Meadows was a key player in encouraging Harriet Hageman to take on Liz Cheney, per Politico.
- Meadows surprised Hageman at a Wyoming donor breakfast last year, where he asked her to run.
Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows was an early booster of Harriet Hageman's now-successful challenge against Rep. Liz Cheney in the Wyoming GOP House primary, providing a direct link to Donald Trump as the former president sought to vanquish one of his most vocal critics, according to Politico.
In July 2021, when Hageman was still considering a run against Cheney — who had by then been removed as the No. 3 House Republican after she continued to rail against Trump's conduct on January 6, 2021, and his debunked election claims surrounding the 2020 presidential election — she drove seven hours across the state to have a breakfast meeting with a donor about the emerging race.
When Hageman arrived in Jackson for her meeting, Meadows — a staunch ally of Trump who served alongside Cheney in the House — had made a surprise appearance and was boosting Hageman in encouraging her to enter the primary.
Hageman had already received the support of myriad Republican leaders in Wyoming, who were exasperated by Cheney's opposition to the former president in a state that he carried with 70 percent of the vote in the 2020 presidential election.
During the meeting, Meadows connected Hageman by phone with Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, another top Trump congressional ally, who also prodded her to enter the contest, per Politico.
After Meadows left the event, he called Trump and pushed him to meet with Hageman, according to an individual familiar with the situation who spoke with the news outlet.
Trump would go on to endorse Hageman and travel to the state to campaign against Cheney, deriding her as a "RINO," or "Republican In Name Only," a political pejorative used to "otherize" her as insufficiently conservative in one of the most GOP-friendly states in the country.
Trump's "Save America" PAC was a key financial outlet for Cheney's top challenger, as a pro-Hageman PAC collected $650,000 from the former president's political committee throughout the primary campaign.
The disciplined effort to beat Cheney never let down from last summer, and coupled with Cheney's high-profile role as the vice chair of the House committee investigating January 6 — a panel which is deeply unpopular among Republicans — the congresswoman went on to lose her primary.
Andy Surabian, the chief strategist for Wyoming Values PAC, the pro-Hageman outside organization, said that those in the former president's orbit considered the Cheney-Hageman race to be extremely important to his "America First" coalition.
"Trump-world organized and mobilized like I've never seen before to ensure Cheney's defeat," he told Politico. "Everyone correctly understood that, symbolically speaking, no midterm race was more important for the future of the America First movement than this one."
With nearly 99 percent of the vote in, Hageman led Cheney in the GOP primary 66%-29%, per DDHQ results.
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