How Donald Trump Is Purging GOP of Those Who Voted to Impeach: '2 Down, 8 To Go!'

More than a year since he lost the 2020 presidential election, the influence of Donald Trump over the GOP shows no sign of decreasing ahead of the 2022 midterms.

Since January, Trump has made it his mission to see those who voted to impeach him for inciting the January 6 insurrection defeated in next year's midterms, frequently mocking and insulting the 10 Republican lawmakers who did so while publicly backing those who intend to run against them.

While fears of running against a Trump-back candidate in 2022 were not cited as their reasons for doing so, two of Trump's most vocal critics within the party who voted to impeach him announced they will not be seeking re-election next year.

Trump has also put out a call for candidates to stand against any of the other Republicans who voted against him, promising that those who do so will be awarded with the much sought after backing from the former president.

In September, Ohio rep. Anthony Gonzalez, one of 10 Republicans who voted to impeach Trump over the January 6 attack, announced he will not seek reelection in Ohio next year while citing the "toxic dynamics" inside the party.

A month later, Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, a frequent critic of Trump's who is one of two Republicans on the committee panel investigating the insurrection, said he won't stand again in 2022.

"2 down, 8 to go!" was Trump's gloating response to the news Kinzinger will not seek reelection.

On November 15, the Wyoming Republican Party voted to no longer recognize Liz Cheney, the second Republican on the January 6 committee who also voted for his impeachment, as being part of the GOP.

In September, Trump endorsed attorney Harriet Hageman in her campaign to unseat Cheney, the most prominent member of Congress to vote for Trump's second impeachment.

Trump also announced on November 15 he will be backing candidate John Gibbs against another impeachment voter Peter Meijer, in Michigan's 3rd District.

On November 13, Trump branched out further in his desires to have those he does not like ousted from the party by urging primary challenges to run against Republicans who voted to approve President Joe Biden's $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill.

"Any interest from good and SMART America First Republican Patriots to run primary campaigns against Representatives Tom Rice, John Katko, Don Bacon, Don Young, Fred Upton (challenge accepted), Andrew Garbarino, Peter Meijer (challenge accepted), David McKinley (challenge accepted), Nancy Mace, Jaime Herrera Beutler (challenge accepted) and Chris Smith? You will have my backing," Trump said in a statement.

Rep. Rice also voted to impeach Trump, with Reps. Upton and Katko joining Bacon, Young, McKinley, Garbarino and Smith in voting to voting to approve Biden's bill.

"Gonzalez, Kinzinger, and [New York congressman Tom] Reed already QUIT, they are out of politics, hopefully for good," Trump added.

"Warmonger Liz Cheney (challenge accepted) is on the SKIDS with a 19 percent approval rating.

"Saving America starts by saving the GOP from RINOs, sellouts, and known losers! In the Senate, the 'Disaster from Alaska,' Lisa Murkowski (challenge accepted), must go. There is 'almost' nobody worse!"

Senator Murkowski was one of seven Senate Republicans who voted to convict Trump in his second impeachment trial, but has confirmed she will run for re-election.

Writing for NBC in October, Ashley Pratte Oates, communications strategist and board member, Republican Women for Progress, accused Trump of "hijacking" the GOP with his continued influence.

"While it's disheartening to see these elected officials lambasted and pushed out of a party they've desperately—and bravely—tried to fix, it also should serve as a final wake-up call for leadership: The GOP is no longer the GOP of the Bushes, Ronald Reagan, Mitt Romney and John McCain. It is now the party of Trump," Pratte Oates said.

"The GOP used to be a party that was rooted in 'country first,' but now it's putting the political ambitions of one man above all. While the anti-democratic violence of Jan. 6 should've led to a clean Republican break with Trump, the party has instead doubled down on its support."

donald trump midterms
Donald Trump speaks during a retreat with Republican lawmakers at Camp David in Thurmont, Maryland, January 6, 2018. SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images