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Trump betrayed the GOP anti-establishment movement, says Norton

Tom Norton speaking to voters at a campaign event in Mount Pleasant on July 6, 2022.
Matt Ozanich
Tom Norton speaking to voters at a campaign event in Mount Pleasant on July 6, 2022.

Michigan’s Republican primary elections reaffirmed that former President Donald Trump still carries influence in the party.

But some factions of the GOP say Trump has betrayed “anti-establishment” candidates, claiming they helped propel Trump to the Presidency to then only have him turn his back on them.

"When [Trump] endorsed Tudor [Dixon] instead of staying out of the damn race," said Tom Norton, who was defeated by Trump-backed congressman John Moolenaar in Michigan's second congressional district primary. "[Trump] betrayed Saldona supporters. He betrayed Rinke supporters. He betrayed Ryan Kelly supporters. When he did that he told the entire grassroots go blank themselves with his middle finger out," said Norton.

Norton says he gave Moolenaar a better fight than anyone would have thought after receiving nearly 35% of the GOP vote.

But Trump-backed candidates fared well in Michigan’s GOP primary elections. Peter Meijer, who voted to impeach Trump, was defeated by former Trump official John Gibbs in Michigan's third congressional district primary.

And late last week, Trump weighed in on Michigan’s gubernatorial race and gave a last minute endorsement to Dixon, a businesswoman from Muskegon, who won the GOP nomination with little friction.

"I will dedicate myself to making sure DeSantis is a nominee in 2024," said Norton. "Because Donald Trump has told the grassroots that fought for him every tooth and nail to go fly a kite and blank themselves. I will take to my dying breath to make sure that [expletive] is not President ever again.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has not announced if he is running for President in 2024.

Rick Brewer has been news director at WCMU since February 2024.