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Trump spokesman says defeating Cheney a top priority

A spokesman for former President Trump says that defeating GOP Rep. Liz Cheney (Wyo.) in her 2022 midterm primary election is a top goal for the former president amid escalating tensions between the two in recent days.

Trump spokesman Jason Miller told The Washington Post in an interview published Saturday that political advisers to Trump have started making calls to Wyoming officials and discussing potential primary challengers for Cheney's seat.

The spokesman added that ousting Cheney was "one of the highest priorities as far as primary endorsements go."

The Post noted that people familiar with the matter said Trump had met with advisers in Florida as recently as Monday to go over potential 2022 campaign endorsements, with the former president committed to backing a single candidate in order to not divide the vote among potential Cheney challengers. 

Reports on Trump's most recent political calculations come as it seems all but certain that Republicans will vote next week to remove Cheney from her role as House Republican Conference chairwoman, with an increasing number of GOP lawmakers throwing their support behind Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), a vocal Trump ally. 

Among those who have indicated support for Cheney's removal are House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who had previously come to Cheney's defense as she faced attacks for her vote earlier this year to impeach Trump over his role in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. 

Several House Republicans now argue that Cheney, the No. 3 House Republican, has undermined GOP messaging and efforts within the party to take back the House in 2022. 

Cheney has continued to levy criticisms against Trump, especially for his efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election over unsubstantiated claims of widespread fraud, further fueling the ire of the former president and his allies. 

On Wednesday, Trump again vocalized his disappointment with Cheney as well as his criticism of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and former Vice President Mike Pence, attacking all three for not backing his false claims of a stolen election.

Trump in a statement called Cheney a "warmonger" and claimed she "has virtually no support left in the Great State of Wyoming" and "continues to unknowingly and foolishly say that there was no Election Fraud in the 2020 Presidential Election when in fact, the evidence, including no Legislative approvals as demanded by the U.S. Constitution, shows the exact opposite." 

These comments come despite the fact that Republican officials in several states Trump lost, including Arizona and Georgia, have refuted his claims of fraud. 

Cheney hit back at Trump later Wednesday, writing in an op-ed for the Post, "Trump is seeking to unravel critical elements of our constitutional structure that make democracy work - confidence in the result of elections and the rule of law." 

The Wyoming congresswoman urged fellow GOP lawmakers to steer clear of Trump's "cult of personality," adding that the Republican Party is now at a "turning point" in which members must decide "whether we are going to choose truth and fidelity to the Constitution."

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