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 McCarthyAfter police rip Trump for Jan. 6, McCarthy again blames Pelosi Capitol Police asked to arrest the maskless 228 Republican lawmakers urge Supreme Court to overrule Roe v. Wade MORE (R-Calif.) wouldn't say Tuesday whether Rep. Liz CheneyElizabeth (Liz) Lynn CheneyPhotos of the Week: Olympic sabre semi-finals, COVID-19 vigil and a loris Jordan acknowledges talking to Trump on Jan. 6 Stefanik calls Cheney 'Pelosi pawn' over Jan. 6 criticism 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 TrumpMeghan McCain: Democrats 'should give a little credit' to Trump for COVID-19 vaccine Trump testing czar warns lockdowns may be on table if people don't get vaccinated Overnight Health Care: CDC details Massachusetts outbreak that sparked mask update | White House says national vaccine mandate 'not under consideration at this time' 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 McConnellThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden sets new vaccine mandate as COVID-19 cases surge Democrats warn shrinking Biden's spending plan could backfire Trump takes two punches from GOP MORE (R-Ky.) — not Trump — as the leaders of the GOP. 

And she sided with Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOn The Money: Justice Department says Trump's tax returns should be released | Democrats fall short of votes for extending eviction ban House adjourns for recess without passing bill to extend federal eviction ban Photos of the Week: Olympic sabre semi-finals, COVID-19 vigil and a loris 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.”