Cheney breaks with McCarthy on scope of Jan. 6 panel

House Republican Conference Chair Liz CheneyElizabeth (Liz) Lynn CheneyWe must learn from the Afghanistan experience — starting with the withdrawal Kevin McCarthy is hostage to the GOP's 'exotic wing' Jan. 6 panel faces new test as first witness pleads the Fifth MORE (Wyo.) broke Monday with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyPressure grows to remove Boebert from committees Senate leaders face pushback on tying debt fight to defense bill News reporting in an age of rampant mendacity MORE (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 TrumpDonald TrumpMan sentenced to nearly four years for running scam Trump, Biden PACs Meadows says Trump's blood oxygen level was dangerously low when he had COVID-19 Trump endorses David Perdue in Georgia's governor race MORE, 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. 

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“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 BidenJoe BidenMan sentenced to nearly four years for running scam Trump, Biden PACs Dole in final column: 'Too many of us have sacrificed too much' Meadows says Trump's blood oxygen level was dangerously low when he had COVID-19 MORE’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 PelosiNancy PelosiDole in final column: 'Too many of us have sacrificed too much' Dole to lie in state in Capitol Rotunda House to vote on Uyghur bill amid diplomatic boycott of Beijing Olympics MORE (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 McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellDole in final column: 'Too many of us have sacrificed too much' Schumer steps on the gas to move Biden agenda Hoyer says Dec. 15 is drop-dead deadline to hike debt ceiling MORE 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.”