But that’s not preventing other Republicans with national ambitions from attempting to assume the role of kingmaker in primaries over the next month — even if it means being at odds with the most influential person in the party.
Pompeo is also supporting West Virginia Rep. David McKinley in his primary battle next week against Rep. Alex Mooney, who has Trump’s backing. (The two incumbents are facing off due to redistricting.)
Pompeo, Haley and Cruz would by no means qualify as “Never Trumpers.” They are all, however, eyeing the White House — and searching for ways to differentiate themselves. Endorsing like-minded candidates is a way to not only exert influence and gain allies, but also to demonstrate a vision for the party.
Of course, if Trump decides to run again in two years, these Republican contenders would face very narrow paths to the GOP nomination. But if they decide to go forward with presidential campaigns — whether that’s with or without Trump in the race in 2024, or even farther down the line — the groundwork they are laying now could pay dividends.
The Point: Trump has reshaped the GOP over the past few years. But some Republicans still see ground to stake out for themselves — even if it’s on the margins.