New York: Former US president George W Bush will headline a fundraiser next month for top Donald Trump critic Liz Cheney, turning her re-election race into a proxy war of sorts between the former presidents who represent two competing factions of the Republican Party.
Bush will be the featured guest at an October 18 event in Dallas supporting the Wyoming congresswoman’s re-election campaign, according to a person familiar with the plans who was not authorised to discuss the fundraiser by name and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.
Cheney, a daughter of Bush’s two-term vice president, Dick Cheney, was the most prominent House Republican to vote to impeach Trump for inciting the January 6 storming of the Capitol building. She has since emerged as one of his most vocal antagonists, and Trump has vowed to exact his revenge.
Bush’s involvement puts the two former Republican presidents directly at odds and underscores the deep tension that remains within the party between Trumpism and the GOP’s establishment wing.
Earlier this month, Trump announced his support for Cheney challenger Harriet Hageman, a Wyoming attorney looking to unseat the three-term congresswoman.
Bush spokesperson Freddy Ford said in a statement that Bush “has historically helped a few key candidates and friends each cycle, so this one shouldn’t come as any surprise”.
“President Bush is impressed by Liz Cheney’s strength and vision, and he’s proud to support her,” he added.
Cheney’s campaign did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the significance of the fundraiser and Bush aides did not comment on any possible future plans to campaign on the congresswoman’s behalf.
While Bush has generally kept a low profile since leaving office in 2009, he delivered a pointed speech earlier this month on the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks in which he warned of the country’s growing internal division and a “violence that gathers within”.