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McCarthy won't say if Cheney is 'good fit' for his team

McCarthy won't say if Cheney is 'good fit' for his team
© Greg Nash

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyRoy to challenge Stefanik for Cheney's old position Stefanik shake-up jump-starts early jockeying for committee posts Why Cheney was toppled, and what it says about the GOP and Trump's claims MORE (R-Calif.) wouldn't say Tuesday whether Rep. Liz CheneyElizabeth (Liz) Lynn CheneyOvernight Defense: Military sexual assault reform bill has votes to pass in Senate l First active duty service member arrested over Jan. 6 riot l Israeli troops attack Gaza Strip Cheney: Fox News has 'a particular obligation' to refute election fraud claims The Memo: What now for anti-Trump Republicans? MORE (R-Wyo.) was a "good fit" for the GOP's leadership team, fueling a divide within the party that has been the big story at his conference's retreat this week in Florida. 

“That's a question for the conference,” McCarthy told reporters gathered in Orlando for the final day of the House GOP's policy retreat, dodging whether Cheney, the GOP conference chairwoman and No. 3 Republican leader, should be part of his leadership team.

When a reporter pressed him further and asked what he personally believes, McCarthy replied without mentioning Cheney’s name: “I think from a perspective if you're sitting here at a retreat that's focused on policy, focused on the future of making America’s next century, and you're talking about something else, you're not being productive.”

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The McCarthy-Cheney spat is symbolic of the GOP’s internal divisions over former President TrumpDonald TrumpProject Veritas surveilled government officials to expose anti-Trump sentiments: report Cheney: Fox News has 'a particular obligation' to refute election fraud claims The Memo: What now for anti-Trump Republicans? MORE, which has loomed over the party all year.

A day earlier, Cheney generated a flurry of headlines after breaking with McCarthy, and the majority of the rank-and-file Republicans she represents, on several issues. At the retreat's opening news conference, Cheney told reporters that she saw McCarthy and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOn The Money: Biden, Senate GOP take step toward infrastructure deal as other plans hit speed bumps Senate GOP to give Biden infrastructure counteroffer next week Masks shed at White House; McConnell: 'Free at last' MORE (R-Ky.) — not Trump — as the leaders of the GOP. 

And she sided with Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOvernight Defense: Military sexual assault reform bill has votes to pass in Senate l First active duty service member arrested over Jan. 6 riot l Israeli troops attack Gaza Strip Hillicon Valley: Colonial pipeline is back online, but concerns remain | Uber, Lyft struggle with driver supply | Apple cuts controversial hire Ocasio-Cortez on Taylor Greene: 'These are the kinds of people that I threw out of bars all the time' MORE (D-Calif.) by declaring that a proposed independent 9/11-style commission should be narrowly focused on investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection carried out by a pro-Trump mob; McCarthy, who’s been feuding with Pelosi, wants the scope of the investigation to be much broader, including looking at some Black Lives Matter and antifa protests that have turned violent at times.

Later, Cheney, one of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump for his role on Jan. 6, told the New York Post that she wasn’t ruling out a presidential run in the future.

Trump wants retribution and has vowed to derail Cheney’s political career and endorse a primary opponent in 2022. Asked if he would campaign for Cheney if she asked for his support, McCarthy on Tuesday: “I haven’t talked to her about it.”