Cheney, Turner request return of donations to Massie’s primary opponent after racist tweets surface
House Republican Conference Chairwoman Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) and Rep. Michael Turner (R-Ohio) are requesting the return of contributions made to Rep. Thomas Massie’s (R-Ky.) primary opponent, Todd McMurtry, after news broke that the candidate posted racist tweets in the past.
Cheney — the No. 3 Republican in the House who led efforts to publicly denounce Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) over remarks he made last year about white supremacy and Western civilization — said she was unaware of the comments when the donation was made and that racism should not be tolerated by the party. Turner echoed the Wyoming Republican’s comments.
“We as Republicans must not condone racism in any form. Last night I was alerted to tweets by a candidate to whom my political action committee made a contribution. After reviewing the tweets, I asked that the contribution be returned,” Cheney tweeted on Saturday.
We as Republicans must not condone racism in any form. Last night I was alerted to tweets by a candidate to whom my political action committee made a contribution. After reviewing the tweets, I asked that the contribution be returned.
— Liz Cheney (@Liz_Cheney) April 18, 2020
— US Rep. Mike Turner (@RepMikeTurner) April 18, 2020
Massie and Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) took to Twitter to take aim at the Wyoming Republican for the donation to McMurtry.
“@RepLizCheney is the @HouseGOP Chair, guides House GOP messaging, runs all House GOP meetings, and is actively working to elect this guy. Is this her vision for the GOP Conference?” Massie tweeted on Saturday morning.
— Thomas Massie (@RepThomasMassie) April 18, 2020
Massie then went after Turner, alleging that his rebuke of McMurtry’s comments wasn’t strong enough.
“.@RepMikeTurner doesn’t even have words for getting caught inviting racism into the party. It’s #refundseason,” he tweeted.
Gaetz — who previously had tension with Cheney over a vote on war powers earlier this year — defended Massie.
“.@Liz_Cheney is the GOP Conference Chair. She has $ supported this proudly racist candidate. She owes Republicans an explanation. Liz – How do you square your support of McMurtry w what you said about Steve King? Do we tolerate Racism if it’s Anti-Massie? Or paired w BBQ?” he tweeted.
.@Liz_Cheney is the GOP Conference Chair.
She has $ supported this proudly racist candidate.
She owes Republicans an explanation.
Liz – How do you square your support of McMurtry w what you said about Steve King?
Do we tolerate Racism if it’s Anti-Massie? Or paired w BBQ? https://t.co/aOe9JFYVba
— Matt Gaetz (@mattgaetz) April 18, 2020
Cheney, Turner and the Republican Jewish Coalition made donations to McMurtry after Massie forced members to return to Washington to vote on a $2 trillion coronavirus relief package amid the pandemic last month.
Massie’s move sparked strong backlash from members on both sides of the aisle and President Trump, who argued the Libertarian was putting his congressional colleagues and staff at risk during a health emergency.
“Looks like a third rate Grandstander named @RepThomasMassie, a Congressman from, unfortunately, a truly GREAT State, Kentucky, wants to vote against the new Save Our Workers Bill in Congress. He just wants the publicity. He can’t stop it, only delay, which is both dangerous & costly,” Trump tweeted ahead of the vote on the stimulus package.
“Workers & small businesses need money now in order to survive. Virus wasn’t their fault. It is ‘HELL’ dealing with the Dems, had to give up some stupid things in order to get the ‘big picture’ done. 90% GREAT! WIN BACK HOUSE, but throw Massie out of Republican Party!” he added.
Massie at the time argued against passing legislation of that magnitude by unanimous consent because “our republic doesn’t die by unanimous consent.”
Updated: 3:26 p.m.