RINO Gonzalez Blasts Fellow Republicans, Gets Johnson’s Support

Rep. Tony Gonzalez (R-TX) has intensified internal party strife with inflammatory accusations against fellow Republicans during a Sunday CNN appearance, casting a dark cloud over his political future. The Texas representative described his primary opponent, Brandon Herrera, and other conservatives, including Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and Bob Good (R-VA), as extremists, without providing any evidence for his outrageous claims.

On CNN’s “State of the Union,” Gonzalez targeted Herrera, calling him a “neo-Nazi” and alleging that Gaetz and Good, who endorsed Herrera, were akin to Ku Klux Klan members. His comments drew quick refutations, including from the show’s liberal host, Dana Bash, who noted that the federal government had cleared Gaetz of similar past accusations.

Herrera swiftly responded on the X platform, denouncing Gonzalez as a failing congressman whose campaign was in a “death spiral.” He criticized Gonzalez for resorting to attacks rather than addressing issues, asserting that such tactics alienated Republican voters.

Adding fuel to the fire, House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) announced he would attend a fundraising event for Gonzalez immediately after the CNN interview. This move has bewildered many conservatives, who view it as tacit support for Gonzalez’s divisive rhetoric at a time when the party seeks unity in the run-up to this year’s critical congressional elections.

Criticism of Gonzalez isn’t new within his party. His policy positions — including support for increased immigration and gun control measures — have isolated him from the America First movement. His progressive positions led to his censure by the Texas Republican Party last year.

The forthcoming primary runoff against Herrera on May 28 is shaping up to be a referendum not only on Gonzalez’s political ideology but also on his incendiary comments. With Herrera gaining endorsements from prominent conservatives disillusioned with Gonzalez, the race is increasingly viewed as a battle for the soul of the Texas GOP and, more broadly, the nation.

Moreover, Mike Johnson’s decision to support Gonzalez after his inflammatory remarks is particularly perplexing. It sends mixed signals to the party’s base, who expect leaders to uphold conservative principles unequivocally. It could also speak to Gonzalez’s desperation, as Johnson’s endorsement on the heels of the speaker’s betrayal of the base over border security last week in favor of tens of billions in new foreign aid for the Ukrainian regime is not likely to attract favor among border district Republicans.