Donald Trump Endorses Republican Who Condemned Him After Jan. 6 Riot

Former President Donald Trump took to social media on Saturday afternoon to endorse Representative Nancy Mace, a South Carolina Republican, who once condemned him for his actions surrounding the U.S. Capitol riot on January 6, 2021.

Mace, who is running for reelection this year in the state’s 1st Congressional District and who has previously said on the House floor that Trump needed to be held “accountable” for the riot, has since become a staunch supporter of the former president.

The Context:

A mob of Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol building on January 6 in a failed attempt to stop the certification of Joe Biden‘s election win. The riot erupted following claims made by then-president Trump that the election was stolen from him via widespread voter fraud. There is no evidence, however, to support such claims.

In the immediate aftermath of the riot, Democrats and Republicans denounced the violence of that day and condemned Trump for his alleged role in it.

On January 13, 2021, freshmen congresswoman Mace took to the House floor to address the vote to impeach Trump for a second time for his actions surrounding January 6.

“The U.S. House of Representatives has every right to impeach the President of the United States, but what we’re doing today, rushing this impeachment in an hour, or two-hour long debate on the floor of this chamber, bypassing the judiciary, poses great questions about the constitutionality of this process,” Mace said.

“I believe we need to hold the President accountable. I hold him accountable for the events that transpired for the attack on our Capitol last Wednesday. I also believe that we need to hold accountable every single person, even Members of Congress, if they contributed to the violence that transpired here.”

The Democrat-controlled House ended up impeaching Trump for “incitement of insurrection.” Only 10 Republicans voted to impeach him, Mace not being one of them, and Trump was later acquitted by the Senate.

Nancy Mace
Representative Nancy Mace, a South Carolina Republican, greets supporters of former President Donald Trump before a Get Out The Vote rally at the North Charleston Convention Center on February 14 in North Charleston, South Carolina….


Win McNamee/Getty Images

What We Know:

In a post on Trump’s social media platform Truth Social, he wrote on Saturday: “It is my great honor to Endorse a Strong Conservative Voice for South Carolina’s 1st Congressional District.

“Nancy Mace worked hard campaigning across South Carolina in support of our Record-Breaking WIN. In Congress, she is fighting to Secure the Border, Strengthen our Military, Support our Veterans, Uphold the Rule of Law, Stop Political Weaponization, and Protect and Defend our always under siege Second Amendment. Congresswoman Nancy Mace has my Complete and Total Endorsement!”

Trump endorsed Mace during her first run in 2020, tweeting: “Keep up the great work so we can #MAGA [Make America Great Again].”

During Mace’s reelection in 2022, however, Trump endorsed Mace’s primary opponent Katie Arrington, calling Mace “terrible” and “very disloyal.” At the time, Mace said in an interview with The State: “I’m gonna win without him,” which she did.

While Trump and Mace seemed to have a falling out in the year following the riot, it appears she is back on his good side.

In January, the congresswoman endorsed Trump for president, posting on X, formerly Twitter: “I don’t see eye to eye perfectly with any candidate. And until now I’ve stayed out of it. But the time has come to unite behind our nominee. To be honest, it’s been a complete s*** show since he left the White House. Our country needs to reverse all the damage [President] Joe Biden has done.”

Newsweek reached out to Mace’s and Trump’s campaigns via email.

Views:

The race for Mace’s seat is largely contended. The congresswoman has four Republican opponents, including her former chief of staff Daniel Hanlon and former South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) director Catherine Templeton. Two Democrats, Mac Deford and Michael B. Moore, are also trying to turn the seat blue.

Reacting to Trump’s endorsement of Mace, Deford told Newsweek in an email on Saturday: “The First Congressional District rejected Donald Trump a couple of weeks ago in the GOP Presidential Primary, so I don’t know how much good his endorsement will do her.

“What I do know is I’ve been attracting her former supporters who are fed up with her and MAGA extremism. The fact that a Democrat can earn bipartisan support in a district like this is a strong signal that voters here aren’t willing to buy into extremism.”

He also commented on Mace’s past relationship with Trump.

“After the January 6th attack on our Capitol, Nancy Mace said Trump ‘put all of our lives at risk.’ She also said Trump had no future in the Republican Party. Then she went and groveled for his forgiveness in front of Trump Tower. Honestly, it’s embarrassing,” Deford said.

The House candidate pointed to a number of legislative actions Mace took that seemed to contradict statements she made.

“To me, this whole saga highlights a common theme with Nancy Mace, where she says one thing and then does another. For example, she called the NDAA [National Defense Authorization Act] amendment prohibiting travel reimbursement to female servicemembers seeking an abortion an ‘a-hole’ amendment, then proceeded to vote for it.

“She voted against the bipartisan infrastructure bill and then showed up to take credit when the money came to the Lowcountry. Mace says she supports women, and then she voted against the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would have addressed pay inequity in our country.”

Deford said from his “vantage point, having worked in local government as an attorney, she’s done little to nothing to address the issues in our district, like housing, education, infrastructure, and protecting the rights of women.”

He added: “She has proven to be an irresponsible representative as it pertains to her share of national responsibility, having called for reduced support to Ukraine. Nancy Mace points out problems but doesn’t do anything to solve them.”

What’s Next?

The primary for South Carolina’s 1st Congressional District is on June 11, with a primary runoff on June 25. As Mace fights for her seat, Trump is also campaigning. With Trump being the sole Republican presidential candidate left in this year’s primary, November will likely be a rematch between him and President Biden, the Democratic incumbent.

Update 3/9/24, 3:47 p.m. ET: This article has been updated with additional information.

Update 3/9/24, 4:24 p.m. ET: This article has been updated with additional information.

Update 3/9/24, 5:40 p.m. ET: This article has been updated with comment from Deford.