Second-ranking House GOP leader backs ouster of Cheney
House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) in a statement is supporting the ouster of Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) from her leadership position, calling for Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) to replace her as House Republican Conference chair.
“House Republicans need to be solely focused on taking back the House in 2022 and fighting against Speaker Pelosi and President Biden’s radical socialist agenda, and Elise Stefanik is strongly committed to doing that, which is why Whip Scalise has pledged to support her for Conference Chair,” Scalise’s spokesperson, Lauren Fine, said in a statement.
The statement was first reported by Punchbowl News.
Cheney is in hot water with her colleagues for repeatedly criticizing former President Trump. She survived an effort to oust her from the third-ranking House GOP position earlier this year, but with Scalise and his boss, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), now backing the effort, she seems assured of leaving her position.
Top allies of McCarthy have already vowed to remove Cheney from the top leadership spot, arguing that the No. 3 Republican has repeatedly undermined GOP messaging and efforts to take back control of the House in the 2022 midterm elections.
“There is no way that Liz will be conference chair by month’s end,” one key McCarthy ally told The Hill on Monday.
“When there is a vote, it won’t be a long conference; it will be fast. Everyone knows the outcome,” the ally said.
A hot mic incident reported by Axios Tuesday signaled the House GOP leader’s growing frustration with Cheney.
“I’ve had it with her. You know, I’ve lost confidence,” McCarthy told a Fox News host in an off-camera exchange.
“Well, someone just has to bring a motion” to oust her, he continued, “but I assume that will probably take place.”
Cheney again criticized Trump this week over statements claiming the 2020 election was stolen from him. She called it the “big lie” and said those backing it were hurting democracy.
“The 2020 presidential election was not stolen,” Cheney tweeted. “Anyone who claims it was is spreading THE BIG LIE, turning their back on the rule of law, and poisoning our democratic system.”
On Wednesday, Cheney spokesperson Jeremy Adler said in a statement to The Hill, “This is about much more than a House leadership fight.”
“Liz will have more to say in the coming days,” he added.
The House Republican Conference has just 31 women, and Cheney is the only woman in leadership. That’s led to pressure to replace her with another woman.
Stefanik, who has offered vigorous support for Trump and defended the president during his first impeachment trial, has emerged as the most likely to succeed Cheney.
Other rivals are dropping out of the race in recognition of that fact.
Punchbowl reported that Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) is now backing Stefanik.
Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.), the Republican Study Committee chairman who suggested last week that Cheney could be pushed out of the GOP post within a month, is also not running for the position.
Cheney is one of 10 House Republicans to have voted to impeach Trump for inciting a mob to attack the Capitol on Jan. 6. The former president has vowed to endorse any Republican primary candidate who runs against her in the upcoming 2022 midterms.
Updated at 8:46 a.m.