Last Updated on August 6, 2021
Bo Biteman, who is now among the crowded field challenging Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) for her congressional seat, expressed strong support for a 2016 RNC rule change that would have allowed the astroturfed Never-Trump movement to strip President Donald Trump of his nomination and give it to a more establishment-friendly pick.
In a tweet from July 19, 2016, Biteman links to a now-deleted article from Conservative Review that supported the effort to change the rules and allow the Republican Party establishment to strip President Trump of his rightful nomination to represent the Republican Party against Hillary Clinton. Biteman wrote, “Trump supporters should be thanking Senator Mike Lee and Ken Cuccinelli”.
Trump supporters should be thanking Senator Mike Lee and Ken Cuccinelli https://t.co/elZk4jPZOZ
— Bo Biteman (@bobiteman) July 19, 2016
The article itself, which has been deleted but was preserved on the Internet Archive, provides an establishment Republican narrative regard Lee and Cuccinelli’s last minute bid to strip President Trump of the nomination. According to the deleted article shared by Biteman, the 45th President and his allies stopped Republicans, led by Lee and Cuccinelli, from enacting a rule change that “grassroots” Republicans favored. In reality, these supposed-grassroots conservatives were anti-Trump establishment Republicans bent on robbing President Trump of the nomination during the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio.
National File has spoken to two highly placed individuals familiar with the attempted rule change who explain that Lee and Cuccinelli’s original plan was to strip President Trump of the nomination in 2016 under the guise of a grassroots revolt, and thus hand the nomination to a more establishment-friendly candidate believed to be more appealing to the Republican Party’s infrastructure.
At the time, a senior Republican involved with the negotiations told Breitbart that Cuccinelli and Lee “were given an opportunity to accept two different proposals by the RNC chairman Reince Priebus” and instead “walked away from both”. Breitbart explained, “in order to have a spectacle on the floor of the convention where it looks like there was a battle inside the party, Lee and Cuccinelli turned down two packages that had almost everything they wanted in them. The first was last week, during Rules Committee negotiations when the ‘Never Trump’ movement was soundly defeated there. That package would have changed the amount of delegates that are offered to states with closed primaries, giving them ‘bonus’ delegates at a rate of 15 percent per the number of at-large delegates in a delegation. So if a state with a closed primary had 20 at-large delegates, they would have gotten 3 extra delegates. They turned that down and fought their battle in the Rules Committee.”
Breitbart added that Cuccinelli “never had any intention of doing anything but trying to create a scene,” and that “He’s been working with the Never Trump folks, and they’ve been saying, ‘Oh no we’re not a part of that.’ Bullshit. They have been a part of that from day one.” Breitbart then summarized the stunt: “Cuccinelli and Lee sold out the grassroots for a floor fireworks show,” and “this strategist—again, someone intricately involved in the negotiations—told Breitbart News that ‘Never Trump is officially dead and buried.'”
Many conservatives feared the rule changes championed by Biteman, Cuccinelli, and Lee could have allowed establishment Republicans to wrest control of the nomination from President Trump, and spell near-certain disaster for the Republican Party during the general election, paving the way for Clinton’s presidency, something echoed by two sources National File spoke to before publishing this article.
Biteman was also an ardent supporter of Ted Cruz during the 2016 campaign, and expressed support and camaraderie for Cheney.
In Wyoming, Cruz shows edge over Trump in grasp of nuances of White House race https://t.co/I7CaO4DLVe via @Reuters@EdBuchananWyo Nice!
— Bo Biteman (@bobiteman) April 15, 2016
Thank you Kyle and Diana Sampson for putting up my sign next to @Liz_Cheney 's. Looking good pic.twitter.com/ra7JoGhbZ5
— Bo Biteman (@bobiteman) May 28, 2016
National File understands that Cheney, the establishment-backed, anti-Trump politician vying to retain her seat despite being immensely unpopular with her base and being censured by her own party, will face an easier reelection due to the large number of candidates running for her seat, including Biteman. While Wyomingites struggle to differentiate between the various candidates opposing her, and thus struggle to raise funds for their fledgling campaigns, Cheney has nearly $3 million on hand as the 2022 race begins.