Cheney breaks with McCarthy on scope of Jan. 6 panel

House Republican Conference Chair Liz Cheney (Wyo.) broke Monday with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), telling reporters that a proposed 9/11-style independent commission should narrowly focus on the deadly Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.

McCarthy, a close ally of former President Trump, has said the scope of the bipartisan commission should be broader and include other episodes of political violence, like Black Lives Matter and antifa protests around the country that have turned violent at times.

“What happened on Jan. 6 is unprecedented in our history, and I think that it’s very important that the commission be able to focus on that,” Cheney said at a GOP gathering in Florida when asked about the scope of the commission’s probe. 

“I’m very concerned, as all my colleagues are, about the violence that we saw, the BLM, the antifa violence last summer. I think that’s a different set of issues, a different set of problems and a different set of solutions,” she continued. “And so I think it’s very important that the Jan. 6 commission stays focused on what happened on Jan. 6, and what led to that day.”

Cheney’s public break with McCarthy came at the opening of the House Republicans’ annual policy retreat in Orlando. It highlighted the widening gulf between Cheney, the highest-ranking GOP woman in Congress, and McCarthy, the top House Republican leader, at a gathering intended to unify the party behind a common agenda and 2022 campaign message. 

Cheney was one of 10 Republicans who voted to impeach Trump for his role in the Jan. 6 insurrection that was aimed at stopping the certification of President Biden’s election victory; McCarthy has been one of Trump’s most loyal, steadfast defenders. 

With her comments about the Jan. 6 commission, Cheney has aligned herself with Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who also has advocated for the creation of a new panel that is narrowly focused on the events leading up to and on Jan. 6. 

The Cheney-McCarthy divide didn’t stop there. Though Trump no longer occupies the White House, McCarthy views Trump as the de facto leader of the GOP, frequently calling Trump and visiting him at his Mar-a-Lago resort to ask for his support in the upcoming 2022 midterm elections.

Cheney has said it’s time for the party to move on from Trump. When she was asked Monday who the leader of the Republican Party is, Trump was not on her list.  

“I think right now, the Republican Party is headed by Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy in the House. I think our elected leaders, you know, are the ones who are in charge of the Republican party,” Cheney said. “And I think as we look at ’22 and ’24, we’re very much going to be focused on substance and on the issues.”

Tags 9/11-style commission Capitol breach Capitol insurrection Capitol riot Donald Trump Jan. 6 commission Joe Biden Kevin McCarthy Liz Cheney Mitch McConnell Nancy Pelosi
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