House Republicans officially voted to elect Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) as the new chair of the House Republican Conference just days after the caucus stripped Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) from her leadership position over her repeated condemnation of former President Donald Trump.
Stefanik cruised to victory in a 134-46 secret ballot vote Friday, an expected appointment due to having no serious challenger and gaining the endorsement from Trump as well as rank-and-file House Republicans — House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA). The conference meeting began at 8:30 am ET with Rep. Ashley Hinson (R-IA), a freshman whom Stefanik helped get elected last year nominated the New York lawmaker for the position.
On Wednesday, Republicans voted to oust Cheney as the No. 3 House. Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) offered the motion to remove Cheney, which passed via voice vote — a vote chosen over the typical conference meeting preference of voting by a secret ballot recorded vote as a way to show Republican unity.
Speaking moments after the vote, Cheney vowed to "do everything" in her power to prevent Trump from returning back to the White House as president.
"The nation needs a strong Republican Party. The nation needs a party that is based upon fundamental principles of conservatism, and I am committed and dedicated to ensuring that that’s how this party goes forward, and I plan to lead the fight to do that," Cheney said. "I will do everything I can to ensure that the former president never again gets anywhere near the Oval Office."
Trump applauded the removal, dismissing Cheney as a "talking point for Democrats," saying the lawmaker was a distraction from the ongoing multiple crises President Biden is currently facing, from the border crisis to a cyberattack causing a hike in gas prices and gas shortage, the Middle East after fours of stability is on fire being in the brink of all-out war, inflation and consumer price index soaring and the stock market plummeting.
Her removal was a culmination of frustrated Republican members is an extremely rare move but highlights the former president’s influence as the influential "kingmaker" in the party’s future. Cheney, the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney and a vocal Trump critic had infuriated GOP lawmakers during the House GOP retreat in Orlando late last month by insisting on focusing her criticism on Trump instead of towards the Democrats and Biden.
Shortly after Cheney was removed from her position, Stefanik formally launched her bid for conference chair to replace the Wyoming Congresswoman as the chamber’s third-ranking Republican. In a two-page letter to House Republicans, Stefanik did not mention Cheney. Instead, she railed against the media and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-NY).
My statement as the newly elected House GOP Conference Chair. pic.twitter.com/emb6lNxPRm
— Elise Stefanik (@EliseStefanik) May 14, 2021
As the No. 3 House Republican, Stefanik will be responsible for helping craft the conference's message for the 2022 midterm. Top Republicans say her elevation will allow the GOP to focus its energy on combating President Biden's agenda, rather than getting derailed by intra-party feuds.
Stefanik said she's "truly honored and humbled" to earn the support of her Republican colleagues, and vowed to "save our country" from the "radical Democrat Socialist agenda,