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Trump lashes out at Thune: ‘He will be primaried in 2022’

December 23, 2020 GMT

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — President Donald Trump took to social media to lash out at South Dakota U.S. Sen. John Thune, saying his political career is over.

The attack on Thune comes following remarks by the 59-year-old Republican about efforts by some GOP members in the U.S. House to reject Electoral College results and stop President-elect Joe Biden from being sworn in next month.

Thune has said the move would “go down like a shot dog” in the Senate.

In a tweet, the outgoing president called the No. 2 Republican in the Senate a “RINO,” meaning Republican In Name Only, and “Mitch’s boy,” in reference to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

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“South Dakota doesn’t like weakness,” the president tweeted. “He will be primaried in 2022, political career over!!!”

Thune, whose office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment, was first elected to the Senate in 2004 and isn’t seen as a vulnerable candidate in the 2022 election.

GOP Gov. Kristi Noem, who has adamantly supported the president and acted as a surrogate for him during the presidential campaign, said she won’t challenge Thune in 2022, the Argus Leader reported.

“John is a friend of mine, and I will not be challenging him,” Noem said in a statement. “I’m honored to be governor of South Dakota and will ask the people to give me an opportunity to continue serving them as Governor in 2022.”