On Monday, The New York Times reported that a Trump-backed candidate in Washington State who is trying to beat a Republican incumbent who voted to impeach the former president, now finds himself under attack by even farther-right activists trying to claim they are the real standard-bearers of the MAGA movement.
Joe Kent, a veteran trying to dethrone Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA), has espoused conspiracy theories about the 2020 election and January 6, and has even appeared on white nationalist podcasts. But according to the report, none of this has convinced some of Trump's die-hards that he is an authentic warrior of their movement.
"In recent weeks, far-right figures led by Nick Fuentes, a white nationalist who has spoken admiringly of Adolf Hitler, have started an online drumbeat claiming that Kent, a retired Green Beret and C.I.A. paramilitary officer who has a fistful of Bronze Stars, is actually a deep-state denizen himself," reported Blake Hounsell. "There’s even a website, joekentiscia.com, which opens with the following accusation in all capital letters: 'JOE KENT IS AN AGENT OF THE DEEP STATE, A CARPETBAGGER, A LIFELONG MARXIST DEMOCRAT RINO AND A CORRUPT OPPORTUNIST.' The note on the site says it was built by something called the Republicans Against RINOs PAC, a group that — if it even exists — is not registered with the Federal Election Commission."
Fuentes, with whom Kent had a meeting in 2021, has also claimed, in his Telegram channel, that Kent is unacceptable because he does not support "Christian Nationalism."
As the report noted, "Other Republicans in the field include Heidi St. John, a Christian author and home-schooling activist; and Vicki Kraft, a state lawmaker. St. John has gotten an infusion of $724,000 in recent weeks from a newly formed super PAC called Conservatives for a Stronger America."
All of this comes as Republicans fight to purge the party of Herrera Beutler and other members who supported Trump's second impeachment. Two lawmakers, Reps. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) and Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH), are declining to seek re-election. Most of the remaining pro-impeachment Republicans face strong primary challenges, one of the most notable being Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), who is also helping to run the House Select Committee investigating the January 6 insurrection.