Trump tees off on Thune, says he will be ‘primaried in 2022’

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (By Joe Sneve, Sioux Falls Argus Leader) – President Donald Trump is not a fan of South Dakota Sen. John Thune.

The outgoing president went after Thune on Tuesday night via social media, calling the second-highest ranked Republican in the U.S. Senate a “RINO,” meaning Republican In Name Only, and “Mitch’s boy,” in reference to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

The social media attack on Thune comes following remarks made by the 59-year-old Murdo native 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.

“The thing they’ve got to remember is, it’s just not going anywhere. I mean, in the Senate it would go down like a shot dog,” Thune told reporters on Capitol Hill Monday night before a floor vote on the latest COVID-19 relief package.

“And I just don’t think it makes a lot of sense to put everybody through this when you know what the ultimate outcome is going to be,” Thune said.

Trump isn’t happy

“Republicans in the Senate so quickly forget. Right now they would be down 8 seats without my backing them in the last Election,” the president wrote on Twitter. “RINO John Thune, “Mitch’s boy”, should just let it play out. South Dakota doesn’t like weakness. He will be primaried in 2022, political career over!!!”

Thune, who’s office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday night, was first elected to the Senate in 2004 and isn’t seen as a vulnerable candidate in the 2022 election. He ran unopposed in his 2020 reelection bid and as of Sept. 30, he had more than $13 million in his campaign fund.

Noem says she will not run against Thune

Also up for reelection that year will be Gov. Kristi Noem, who has adamantly supported the president and acted as a surrogate for him during the presidential campaign. But she says it won’t be her who will be challenging Thune, to whom she offered words of support Tuesday night.

“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.”