Hageman says she was fooled into opposing Trump in 2016

By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily
(this story originally appeared on Cowboy State Daily

Congressional candidate Harriet Hageman was fooled into opposing the presidential bid of former President Donald Trump in 2016 by “Democrats and Liz Cheney’s friends in the media,” she said Monday.

Hageman, responding to a New York Times article about her current support for Trump compared to her opposition to his campaign in 2016, said she learned that what was being said about Trump then was untrue.

“The fact is, I heard and believed the lies the Democrats and Liz Cheney’s friends in the media were telling at the time, but that is ancient history as I quickly realized their allegations against President Trump were untrue. They lied about him before he was elected and continue to lie about him to this day.”

Hageman has won Trump’s endorsement of her campaign for the Republican nomination for Wyoming’s U.S. House seat. The former president has vowed to oppose U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney’s re-election because of her vote to impeach him in connection with the Jan. 6 invasion of the Capitol.

Cheney has not formally announced whether she will seek re-election, but Hageman, in announcing her candidacy, specifically targeted Cheney for what she called Cheney’s betrayal of Wyoming voters.

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The New York Times article, written by Reid J. Epstein, described Hageman’s condemnation of Trump as “somebody who is racist and xenophobic.”

The article called Hageman’s current support for Trump “one of the most striking illustrations yet of the political elasticity demonstrated both by ambitious Republicans in the Trump era and by the former president himself…”

But Hageman said support for Trump was common among Republicans who took a closer look at him during the 2016 GOP Convention.

“It’s true I was a (U.S. Sen. Ted) Cruz delegate at the convention in 2016, as were most of the Wyoming delegates,” she said. “Like me, there were a lot of people who initially supported other candidates and then came to rally behind President Trump when he won the nomination.”

Wyoming’s Republican Party in 2016 backed Cruz’s presidential campaign.

Hageman added she is proud to support Trump now.

“He was the greatest president of my lifetime and I am proud to have been able to re-nominate him in 2020,” she said. “And I’m proud to strongly support him today. Our country would be in a better place with him still in office.”

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The New York Times article also discussed what it called Hageman’s involvement during the 2016 convention in an effort to “unbind” delegates who had pledged support to one candidate so they could vote for any candidate to be the GOP’s presidential candidate.

Hageman said as a member of the convention’s Rules Committee, she focused on two issues. One was to close primaries so that only registered Republicans could vote in GOP primary elections.

The other was a proposal to give states with a high proportion of Republican officials, such as Wyoming, more delegates at the convention.

“In a state like Wyoming, where we have a Republican governor, a Legislature that is primarily Republican, and an all-Republican congressional delegation, we should be rewarded for that,” she said.

Hageman dismissed the New York Times story as “the national news media trying to ride to Liz Cheney’s defense by attacking me.”

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