April 18, 2024

Former President Trump went after the flurry of GOP House members leaving their seats this year, throwing the already razor-thin Republican majority up in the air.

“Never forget our cowards and weaklings! Such a disgrace,” Trump said in a Truth Social post Sunday in response to an article about outgoing Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.).

Trump’s Easter criticisms were aimed at Gallagher and former Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.), who both chose to retire early from Congress, leaving their seats empty. Gallagher will resign from Congress in mid-April, leaving his seat open until next January, while Buck resigned last week to be replaced in June.

The openings, combined with other vacancies in the House, bring the GOP majority down to just a single seat after Gallagher resigns, making the already difficult task of passing party-line votes that much harder. The situation has even led to some speculation that Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) could be named Speaker, with some Republicans in revolt against Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.).

Trump’s barbs against Gallagher echo scorn from much of the GOP, as the congressman appeared to time his resignation to perfectly align with Wisconsin law to avoid a special election. That guarantees his seat will be empty until January, instead of being filled in a few months.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) even called on the House to expel Gallagher as a punishment, though it would have no real effect, and the effort has not gained support.

The next vacancy to be filled, that of former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), is set for the end of April, leaving about three weeks with the one-seat margin.

Gallagher blamed his exit on the dysfunction of the GOP.

“Since I ran, I always said that Congress shouldn’t be a career,” Gallagher said in an interview in February, after he said he would not run for reelection but before he announced his early resignation.

“I think that the fact that we have so many lifers and careerists in this institution is why it’s so dysfunctional, and that the Framers, when they created the Constitution and this country, had in mind that you would embark on a season of service and then return to private life,” he continued.

Copyright 2024 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.