Editor’s note: The breaking news unit responded to you, readers, following the publication of this article. Here’s the final result.
A pair of Montana Republicans who vowed to vote for Gov. Steve Bullock in the May special election are joining the House Freedom Caucus.
Rep. Madison Cawthorn said in a conference call on Thursday with the Republican Study Committee leadership that he is joining the influential conservative caucus, the H Building and Freedom Now PAC, in their efforts to push back against President Donald Trump. Cawthorn was one of several Republicans to pledge to vote for Bullock in a surprise move in late April.
Cawthorn said on the call that he has been receptive to the White House’s policy directives. But he stressed that the president’s proposals are for all the wrong reasons and not based on conservative principles.
“We do have to do some of that work as Republicans,” he said, “and I am [attaching] my name to the H Building [and] Freedom Now.
“[The President is] calling for everything he wants and really doing it for the wrong reasons,” Cawthorn continued. “He’s doing it for partisan purposes, for personal political purposes.”
Cawthorn added that he expects Republicans to heed the President’s directives when it comes to pursuing immigration reform, but will fight for a smaller government stance.
Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., said that he expects both Republicans and Democrats will accept parts of Trump’s proposed immigration plan but that “we have to help them understand what the positives and negatives are.”
“A number of people have overshot the mark,” Upton added. “We have to continue to try to educate them on the process.”
The Freedom Caucus voted on Wednesday not to formally endorse Bullock in the gubernatorial race. But Upton said that any candidate on the Republican side of the ticket that attempted to take aim at Trump in the race would be doomed.
“[Bullock] would be a one-term guy,” Upton said. “That means we don’t have to worry about that.”
Cawthorn did not say that he and others involved in the vote for Bullock would try to figure out a way to stand with the President in November, but said that their primary goal is to be a voice of the many conservative Republicans in the House who support the President’s agenda.
“Our primary focus was on the Bullock race,” Cawthorn said. “I think when the final results are counted, we could very well be on the winning side of that.”
The two Republicans said that they had decided to decide on a House run in the “autumn” and had already begun the process of planning a campaign.