Trump backs Hoekstra over Karamo in Michigan GOP feud
- Former President Donald Trump backs Pete Hoekstra amid Michigan GOP leadership dispute
- Kristina Karamo claims she continues to chair the Michigan Republican Party because her ouster vote was ‘illegal’
- In an initial review, the Republican National Committee determined Karamo was ‘properly removed’
LANSING – Donald Trump on Friday recognized Pete Hoekstra as chair of the Michigan Republican Party, throwing his political weight behind the former ambassador amid an ongoing leadership dispute.
The support for Hoekstra by the former president doesn’t settle the dispute but puts significant pressure on Kristina Karamo to relinquish her claim to the post three weeks after critics voted to oust her in what she called an “illegal” meeting.
Hoekstra will "make The Republican Party of Michigan GREAT AGAIN, and has my Complete and Total Endorsement to be its Chairman," Trump wrote on his social media site, Truth Social.
- RNC: Kristina Karamo ‘properly removed’ as Michigan GOP chair; review ongoing
- Who is Pete Hoekstra? Meet the Trump ambassador in fight for Michigan GOP
- Bank: Michigan GOP defaulted on $500K loan, hasn’t made payment in months
The former president, who in 2018 tapped Hoekstra to be his U.S. ambassador to the Netherlands, said Hoekstra did a "fantastic job" in that role. And he was a "GREAT Congressman" before that, Trump wrote.
In a Friday statement, Hoekstra celebrated the Trump endorsement and thanked him for “confidence in my ability to lead our state party to victory.”
“My mission since taking over as party chair has been to unite our party and ensure President Trump wins Michigan as our nominee,” Hoekstra said, recognizing Trump as the party’s presumptive 2024 nominee even though former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley remains in the primary race.
“I am putting together an operation that delivers this state and the presidency for Donald J. Trump.”
Karamo, however, showed no sign of giving up the fight.
"It's business as usual for Chairwoman Karamo," Her administration wrote in a statement from a Michigan GOP email account she still controls.
"She looks forward to the MIGOP District Convention on March 2."
Earlier Friday, Karamo bashed the Republican National Committee, whose attorneys this week said their initial review determined Karamo was “properly removed.”
The national party, led by former Michigan GOP Chair Ronna McDaniel, is “colluding with a rogue faction to illicitly install their operatives to remove the grassroots movement from our party,” Karamo claimed in a social media post.
Trump’s backing and the initial RNC determination are the latest in a series of setbacks for Karamo, who nonetheless maintains control of the state party bank accounts, social media channels and more heading toward 2024 elections.
Karamo rose to prominence as a 2020 election denier, was endorsed by Trump for Michigan Secretary of State in 2022 and refused to concede her 14-point loss in that race. She took over the state party in February, when Michigan GOP delegates elected her over Trump’s pick for the post, attorney Matthew DePerno.
Citing sluggish fundraising and her handling of local party disputes, one faction of the Michigan GOP state committee met Jan. 6 and voted to remove Karamo.
Karamo called the meeting illegitimate, and held a separate gathering on Jan. 13, where another faction of state committee members voted to retain her and kick some of her top critics out of the party for five years.
Critics sued Karamo in Kent County court, seeking judicial intervention to resolve the dispute, and on Jan. 20 chose Hoekstra to replace her.
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