Cheney GOP conference deputy has complained about ‘coronation’ of Stefanik: report

The vice chairman of the House Republican Conference has reportedly been complaining privately about what he calls the “coronation” of Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) to replace Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) as the GOP conference leader.

Rep. Mike Johnson (R-La.) has questioned Stefanik’s conservative credentials to his Republican colleagues and grumbled about the ease at which she has been boosted for the position, according to a report from Punchbowl News on Friday.

Johnson has reportedly been receiving calls from colleagues about Stefanik as the drama surrounding Cheney has unfolded. His office declined to comment on the record to the news outlet. 

The 36-year-old Stefanik has emerged as the leading contender to replace Cheney, who is likely to be ousted from her leadership position next week. 

Cheney’s removal is supported by House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) and his boss, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), with the lawmakers 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.

Cheney has come under criticism from former President Trump and other Republicans for her frequent criticisms of Trump and his false claims that the 2020 election was stolen. She voted in favor of impeaching him for inciting the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

Trump endorsed Stefanik on Wednesday, saying that she is a “far superior choice” to the “warmongering” Cheney and one who will advance his populist “America First” agenda. 

Stefanik’s rise to the powerful position would mark an apparent shift in the Republican Party from having less to do with promoting conservative values and more to do with loyalty to Trump.

However, Johnson is reportedly not the only Republican concerned that Stefanik is not the best representative for the party.

The conservative organization Club for Growth on Wednesday came out against Stefanik, saying she is not conservative enough.

“Elise Stefanik is NOT a good spokesperson for the House Republican Conference,” the group tweeted. “She is a liberal with a 35% CFGF lifetime rating, 4th worst in the House GOP. House Republicans should find a conservative to lead messaging and win back the House Majority.”

The group was referring to its own scoring system that it uses to grade federal lawmakers. Out of all GOP House members, Stefanik currently has a ranking of 197, placing her among the bottom five Republican lawmakers who have a score from the organization.

Stefanik, however, has been attempting to bolster her support by pushing a message of unity.

“My vision is to run with support from the president [Trump] and his coalition of voters, which was the highest number of votes ever won by a Republican nominee,” Stefanik reportedly told former White House aide Stephen Bannon on his “War Room” podcast on Thursday.

Tags Cheney controversy Donald Trump Elise Stefanik GOP rift House GOP leadership House Republican Conference Kevin McCarthy Liz Cheney Mike Johnson Republican Party Steve Scalise

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