State Rep. Dave Williams fired back Wednesday night at a top official with President Donald Trump's Colorado campaign after the campaign cut ties with the El Paso County Republican.
Williams, the liaison between the Trump campaign and GOP legislators until Wednesday afternoon, accused Trump's state director of "pettiness" for removing him from the position after Williams invoked his role as a Trump surrogate while endorsing a Republican running in a bitter legislative primary in Jefferson County.
A spokesman for the Colorado Trump Victory operation told Colorado Politics that Williams was no longer affiliated with the campaign and that the lawmaker had been told not to imply any affiliation going forward.
In a mailer sent earlier this week to voters in House District 22 — covering the Columbine, Ken Caryl and Dakota Ridge neighborhoods in the southwest metro area — Williams threw his support behind former state Rep. Justin Everett, who is mounting a primary challenge to state Rep. Colin Larson, the more moderate Republican who won the seat after the ultra-conservative Everett ran for state treasurer in 2018 rather than seek a fourth term.
"Justin Everett is the only proven supporter of President Trump, and is the only candidate who has the ability and proven track record to deliver the win in this House District for President Trump as he did in 2016," reads the mailer, which was paid for by the Everett campaign. The endorsement is credited to "Dave Williams, State Representative and Colorado Surrogate for President Trump."
"Justin is bold like President Trump and is the fighter we need representing our House District," the flip side of the mailer reads.
Below that appears a quote from Barb Neville, the wife of former state Sen. Tim Neville and the mother of House Minority Leader Patrick Neville, saying Everett's "bold conservative message and team" ensured that Trump won HD 22 in 2016. Neville identifies herself as "co-chair for Trump — grassroots coordinator," a position she held in 2016 but no longer holds.
While the Colorado Trump Victory spokesman wouldn't say what triggered Williams' ouster, Williams told Colorado Politics in a series of text messages that it was his outspoken support for Everett. He also slammed Jefferson Thomas, the Trump campaign's state director, for applying a "double standard" after backing Larson in the primary months ago.
Said Williams: “Jefferson Thomas informed me today that he was cutting ties with me because of my support for the most conservative legislator in Colorado history."
Williams attached an image of an enthusiastic March 6 Facebook post by Thomas that praised Larson and said the Trump campaign will win Jefferson County this year "(because) of great supporters of our #MAGA agenda like Colin!"
“I asked Jefferson why there was a double standard between us since he publicly endorsed Colin Larson a few months back and used his title to do so. I can’t understand why Jefferson would try to punish me for something he did also," Williams said.
“Regardless of Jefferson’s pettiness, I will continue to encourage Colorado voters to rally around President Trump.”
Everett told Colorado Politics that he suspected Williams' firing had to do with personalities and fault lines in the Republican Party — like those exposed in the primary against Larson, which has drawn hundreds of thousands of dollars in outside spending.
Everett acknowledged that he didn't support Trump until after the 2016 Republican National Convention — like most high-profile Colorado Republicans, he was in Texas Sen. Ted Cruz' camp until the RNC — but rejected attacks that have been landing in district mailboxes calling him a "Never Trumper," which Everett said are funded by liberal outside groups supporting Larson.
"I’m going to vote for President Trump and support him in this election, and I voted for him in 2016 and helped organize the get-out-the-vote effort," Everett said.
"But there’s a lot of big money coming into this race, including money from liberal groups who want Colin to win. By supporting Colin, Jefferson Thomas is supporting Hillary Clinton-supportive people," Everett said. "If he’s supporting Colin, he’s supporting all this liberal money coming in. There’s no conservative money coming in for Colin. Is that something the Trump campaign is comfortable with?"
A spokesman for Colorado Trump Victory said the campaign had no comment on Williams' and Everett's remarks.