House GOP Plot Cheney’s Ousting From Leadership Post

House GOP Plot Cheney’s Ousting From Leadership Post

House Republican leadership could be on the verge of cleaning house

Mona Salama
Mona Salama
|
May 4, 2021

House Republicans are moving closer to ousting Conference Chair Liz Cheney (R-WY) from House conference leadership, with a majority are plotting a replacement, one that is younger with a pro-Trump voice to fill the position, including Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York, Florida Reps. Maria Elvira Salazar and Kat Cammack.

A GOP lawmaker told The Floridian that Cheney is “toast,” saying she is out of touch with the Republican base following her recent criticisms of Trump and her split with other members of party leadership has hindered her ability to lead messaging given the fact that GOP voters overwhelmingly believe former President Trump is the leader of the party. The GOP member said the party is eyeing a second vote in less than three months for Cheney’s removal during their first conference meeting when they return to the Capitol next week following their two-week recess.

In the event Cheney is ousted, the lawmaker noted the optics in removing the most powerful GOP woman from leadership can’t have a successor be of a white man.

“It has to be a woman,” the member told The Floridian. “And then you’ve got to go pretty deep into the new freshman class and find another woman to be selected as Cheney’s replacement.”

Stefanik, who played a leading role in defending Trump during both his impeachment hearings has been whipping votes to take the influential position. Both Elvira Salazar, a Hispanic, and Cammack, the youngest House member are also viewed to also be top possible contenders for the job. However, neither of the Floridian lawmakers has yet to indicate if they are interested in possibly taking the job.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and House Minority Whip Steve Scalise are reported to be privately done with Cheney and her repeated rebellious antics in vocally attacking Trump and his impact on the GOP. Both Rank-and-file GOP lawmakers said they want someone to fill the leadership role who is not only relentlessly on message, but also someone who won’t cause a distraction by going against Trump in antagonizing him publicly while they look to retake the House in 2022.

McCarthy took aim at Cheney in a hot-mic Tuesday, saying he has “had it with her” and has totally “lost confidence” in his No. 3 deputy.

“I think she’s got real problems. I’ve had it with … I’ve had it with her. You know, I’ve lost confidence. … Well, someone just has to bring a motion, but I assume that will probably take place,” McCarthy said in off-camera remarks to Fox and Friends host Steve Doocey prior to his six-minute interview, Axios reported earlier on Tuesday.

Cheney, the daughter of former Republican Vice President Dick Cheney ignited GOP anger last week during the House GOP retreat in Orlando, Florida when she broke from McCarthy on what the scope of what the Jan. 6 Capitol Riot commission should consist of while continuing her barrage of attacks towards Trump. In a series of interviews during the three-day retreat that dominated coverage with the focus on Cheney’s criticism of Trump, the No. 3 House Republican said the former president should not be the face of the party. Her remarks led to a back-and-forth exchange with Trump mocked Cheney as a “warmongering fool” who he stated has “sooo little support” back in her home state.

On Monday, Cheney added more fuel to the fire in continuing her attacks, when insisting that Trump should be exiled from the party. In an off-the-record interview with former House Speaker Paul Ryan before a crowd of donors and scholars at the annual retreat for the American Enterprise Institute in Sea Island, Georgia, Cheney said that the GOP shouldn’t continue “perpetuate Trump’s big lie” that she claims is “poison” idea that the 2020 election was stolen.

“We can’t embrace the notion the election is stolen. It’s a poison in the bloodstream of our democracy,” Cheney said in response to Trump’s emailed statement saying, “The Fraudulent Presidential Election of 2020 will be, from this day forth, known as THE BIG LIE!”

“We can’t whitewash what happened on January 6 or perpetuate Trump’s big lie. It is a threat to democracy. What he did on January 6 is a line that cannot be crossed,” Cheney added.

Cheney survived the bid from being ousted from leadership in February in a 145-to-61 vote by secret ballot. The challenge started when Rep. Matt Gaetz led the calls for the Wyoming lawmaker to be stripped from being the third-ranking GOP member following her renegade vote in joining House Democrats in voting to impeach former President Donald Trump for the second time earlier this year. Both McCarthy and Scalise vocally backed Cheney the first time around but have no plans to do so again.

Despite overwhelmingly garnishing 145 House GOP lawmakers to secretively supporting to keep her leadership, those fed up with Cheney needs to flip more than 40 of those yes votes, something that is now plausible to obtain, assuming they once again use a secret ballot.

When asked about the McCarthy-Cheney dynamic, Cheney spokesman Jeremy Adler argued that she is working to tell Americans the truth about the 2020 election.

“This is about whether the Republican Party is going to perpetuate lies about the 2020 election and attempt to whitewash what happened on Jan 6. Liz will not do that. That is the issue,” Adler said in a statement responding to McCarthy’s remarks.

The House returns from its recess on May 12, and House GOP lawmakers are expecting a vote on Cheney’s future shortly thereafter.

Mona Salama

Mona Salama

Subscribe to the newsletter everyone in Florida is reading.