House Republicans planted themselves firmly in the camp of Donald Trump on Wednesday when they removed Rep. Liz Cheney from their leadership team after her criticism of the former president.
In a closed-door meeting in the basement of the Capitol, Republicans voted to oust Cheney after she repeatedly called out Trump’s false claims he won the election and criticized his role in the January 6 insurrection.
The vote, done by voice vote, took less than 15 minutes.
And the declaration of war was mutual.
After her ouster, Cheney told reporters: ‘I will do everything I can to ensure that the former president never again gets anywhere near the Oval Office.
‘We have seen the danger that he continues to provoke with his language. We have seen his lack of commitment and dedication to the Constitution. And I think it’s very important that we make sure whomever we elect, is somebody who will be faithful to the Constitution,’ she added.
Trump has not ruled out another presidential bid in 2024. Before the GOP vote, Trump released a statement trashing Cheney, calling her a ‘poor leader’ and ‘a person with absolutely no personality or heart.’
Cheney said her mission now is to return the Republican Party to its conservative credentials.
‘The nation needs a strong Republican Party. The nation needs a party that is based on fundamental principles of conservatism. And I’m committed and dedicated to ensuring that that’s how the party goes forward, and I plan to lead the fight to do that.’
‘We’ve got to get back to a position where we are a party that can fight for conservative principles that can fight for substance, we cannot be dragged backward, by the very dangerous lies of a former President,’ said the Republican congresswoman from Wyoming.
After the vote, Cheney told reporters: ‘I will do everything I can to ensure that the former president never again, is anywhere near the Oval Office’
Rep. Liz Cheney vowed to keep fighting for the Republican Party after her ouster from leadership
Before Republicans canceled her from party leadership, Cheney kept up her criticism of the former president, bashing him to GOP lawmakers in their closed-door meeting in a sign she knew her fate was sealed.
‘If you want leaders who will enable and spread [Trump’s] destructive lies, I’m not your person, you have plenty of others to choose from,’ Cheney told her fellow Republican lawmakers.
And she vowed to keep fighting.
‘I promise you this, after today, I will be leading the fight to restore our party and our nation to conservative principles, to defeating socialism, to defending our republic, to making the GOP worthy again of being the party of Lincoln,’ she said. She ended with a prayer, and told lawmakers she was praying for them.
There were a few boos after Cheney spoke to the meeting, according to lawmakers in the room.
GOP leader Kevin McCarthy was only the other lawmaker that spoke and, in brief remarks, told the party it was time to move on.
Rep. Adam Kinzinger, a Cheney supporter said of the voice vote: ‘The ironic thing was it was to show unity.’
He said he was surprised at how quickly it went down. ‘It was definitely not what I expected.’
It was a yes to remove Cheney and a no to keep, a GOP lawmaker said of the vote, saying it sounded as if three quarters of Republicans shouted yes. It was all over in less than 15 minutes.
Trump celebrated Cheney’s ouster.
‘Liz Cheney is a bitter, horrible human being,’ he said in a statement after the vote.
He called her a shrill for Democrats: ‘She is a talking point for Democrats, whether that means the Border, the gas lines, inflation, or destroying our economy. She is a warmonger whose family stupidly pushed us into the never-ending Middle East Disaster, draining our wealth and depleting our Great Military, the worst decision in our Country’s history. I look forward to soon watching her as a Paid Contributor on CNN or MSDNC!’
Rep. Ken Buck, a conservative congressman who used to work for Cheney’s father, Dick Cheney, said the congresswoman was canceled for speaking out against Trump.
‘Liz Cheney was canceled today for speaking her mind and disagreeing with the narrative that President Trump has put forth,’ he said.
He said lawmakers in the room ‘wanted to move on. They wanted to adjourn. They weren’t looking for a recorded vote.’
McCarthy will now push to unit the party and focus on the 2022 midterm election where the GOP will try to win back control of the House.
McCarthy then plans to run for speaker and is counting on Trump’s large, active base of supporters to help return the party to power next year after Democrats took the House, Senate and White House in the 2020 election. He’s made repeated trips to Mar-a-Lago and speaks to Trump on the phone frequently.
House Republicans planted themselves firmly in the camp of Donald Trump on Wednesday when they removed Rep. Liz Cheney (pictured Wednesday) from their leadership team after her criticism of the former president
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., arrives as House Republicans meet at the Capitol for the vote
House Republicans push off vote on Elise Stefanik’s bid to replace Cheney until Friday as she’s forced to assure right-wing Freedom Caucus group of her conservative credentials
House Republicans put off a vote on Rep. Elise Stefanik’s (pictured Wednesday) bid to replace Liz Cheney
House Republicans put off a vote on Rep. Elise Stefanik’s bid to replace Liz Cheney as the No. 3 GOP leader amid pressure from right-wing lawmakers that she vouch for her conservative credentials.
The move to delay a formal vote on Stefanik comes after Former President Donald Trump – who Cheney accused of provoking a violent attack on the Capitol ‘in an effort to steal the election’ – gave the New York lawmaker his public endorsement.
The vote to remove Cheney came on a voice vote, after her base of support within the conference plummeted.
But Stefanik, an upstate New York lawmakers who came to Congress with a more centrist background and worked for Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign, has been facing blowback from conservative lawmakers who hold powerful sway in the GOP Conference.
Now, she is scheduled to meet Wednesday night with members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, which will be seeking assurances.
Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.), a Trump loyalist, told reporters about the meeting following Cheney’s ouster.
The confab comes after conservative GOP Rep. Chip Roy of Texas cast Stefanik’s ascension as a risk to the party’s mid-term goal of recapturing the House.
‘We must avoid putting in charge Republicans who campaign as Republicans but then vote for and advance the Democrats’ agenda once sworn in – that is, that we do not make the same mistakes we did in 2017,’ he said.
He warned against what he termed a coronation of a ‘spokesperson whose voting record embodies much of what led to the 2018 ass-kicking we received by Democrats.’
Stefanik also met with the group Monday. In a sign of the constraints she is facing even with backing from Trump, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and Minority Whip Steve Scalise, she agreed to serve a single term.
In a letter to colleagues Wednesday, she stressed her ‘ability to listen.’ She also sought to unify her party against the ‘radical Socialist Democrat agenda of President Biden and Speaker Pelosi.’
Stefanik wrote to colleagues and called for ‘unified leadership’ to fight the ‘Far-Left media narrative’
‘A unified leadership team is the key foundation as we work to regain the Majority,’ she wrote, in a letter that also referenced the Chinese Communist Party, ‘biased media,’ and ‘Far-left Socialist dismantling of America.’
Conservative outside group Heritage Action gave her a conservative scorecard of 56 percent – compared to 82 per cent for Cheney, in an indication that Cheney’s had little to do with ideology and was instead tied to loyalty to Trump and GOP concerns about mixed messaging.
Last week, Trump endorsed Stefanik, writing: ‘Liz Cheney is a warmongering fool who has no business in Republican Party Leadership. We want leaders who believe in the Make America Great Again movement, and prioritize the values of America First. Elise Stefanik is a far superior choice, and she has my COMPLETE and TOTAL endorsement for GOP Conference Chair. Elise is a tough and smart communicator!’
House Republican Whip Steve Scalise sent a note to GOP lawmakers after Cheney’s ouster to ask them to focus on the days ahead, including defeating the agenda of President Joe Biden and Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
‘We, as a conference, must remain focused on stopping Speaker Pelosi and President Biden’s socialist agenda. We stand with hard-working Americans,’ he wrote.
‘That means we must lead the fight in Congress to expose and defeat Biden’s plan to pass devastating tax increases and trillions more in wasteful spending plans. I want each of you to take a leadership role in exposing the magnitude and devastating details of the Democrats’ socialist plan,’ he added.
With Cheney out, Republicans will have to replace her as GOP Conference Chair, the Number Three leadership position.
Rep. Elise Stefanik is the frontrunner for the job but is facing questions about her conservative credentials. She will meet with the House Freedom Caucus on Wednesday to reassure the right-wing of the party. The vote to fill Cheney’s former position will take place on Friday but could be pushed into next week as several GOP lawmakers said they would like to speak to Stefanik before the leadership election.
She also sent a letter to GOP lawmakers calling for unity as the key to win back control of the House. The letter served as her formal declaration for the position.
‘A unified leadership team is the key foundation as we work to regain the Majority,’ Stefanik wrote. ‘If we get our message out, we will win and save America.’
She listed her goals as a ‘disciplined, unified message’ from leadership, going on the offense ‘every single day,’ and ’empower all our members to shine.’
After the meeting, Pelosi called Cheney a ‘leader of great courage, patriotism and integrity.’
‘For the sake of our democracy, reasonable Republicans across the country must take back their party,’ Pelosi said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Cheney plans to run for re-election in Wyoming and she has a political operation in place headed into the 2022 midterms.
And she plans to keep holding her fellow Republicans accountable.
‘A former president who provoked a violent attack on this Capitol, in an effort to steal the election, has resumed his aggressive effort to convince Americans that the election was stolen from him,’ she said in a speech on the House floor Tuesday evening
‘This is not about policy. This is not about partisanship. This is about our duty as Americans. Remaining silent and ignoring the lie emboldens the liar,’ she noted, wearing a pin given to her by her mother that evokes Gen. George Washington’s battle flag.
‘I will not participate in that. I will not sit back and watch in silence while others lead our party down a path that abandons the rule of law and joins the former president’s crusade to undermine our democracy.’
Ahead of the vote on Wednesday morning, Trump released a statement calling Cheney a ‘warmonger’.
‘The Republicans in the House of Representatives have a great opportunity today to rid themselves of a poor leader, a major Democrat talking point, a warmonger, and a person with absolutely no personality or heart,’ he wrote. ‘As a representative of the Great State of Wyoming, Liz Cheney is bad for our Country and bad for herself.
Liz Cheney on Tuesday refused to back down ahead of vote to oust her from GOP leadership, calling Donald Trump a liar ‘on a crusade to undermine our democracy’
Ahead of the vote on Wednesday morning, Trump released a statement calling Cheney a ‘warmonger’. Trump spent two days holed up in Trump Tower in Manhattan before he was pictured leaving Tuesday, along with his heavy security detail
‘Liz Cheney is a bitter, horrible human being,’ Trump said in a statement after the vote
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy arrives for Wednesday morning’s meeting in the basement of the Capitol
Republican Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Matt Gaetz arrive for the meeting
‘Almost everyone in the Republican Party, including 90% of Wyoming, looks forward to her ouster—and that includes me!’
As Trump cements his hold on Republicans, polls show the GOP is with him. The latest Morning Consult/Politico poll found 50% of Republican voters think Cheney should be removed from her leadership role, while only 18% think she should keep it.
There are few Republicans who vocally oppose Trump. One is GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger, who has spoken out against the former president and supported Cheney.
Kinzinger also spoke up against McCarthy, writing on Twitter in a long thread on Wednesday morning: ‘Kevin wants to be speaker. He made the determination that if he appeased the Trump crowd, he could raise money and take the credit, when he was up for speaker.
‘Liz may lose, and MAGA-lago may celebrate. But I predict that the history books of the future will not celebrate. They will say this was the low point of the Republican Party.
‘The loser former guy, who has thin skin and snowflake like personality will solidify his momentary leadership, and we will solidify our position as a once honorable party that was marred by lies.’
Rep. Elise Stefanik, a vocal Trump supporter, is the front runner to replace Liz Cheney in the Republican leadership; the vote on Stefanik looks to be held on Friday
More than 100 Republicans – led by ‘Anonymous’ Trump critic – sign letter threatening to form third party unless it breaks with former President
More than 100 Republicans will sign a letter on Thursday declaring that if the Republican Party does not break with former President Donald Trump and change course, they will back the creation of a third party.
The letter, titled: ‘A Call For American Renewal,’ is an exploratory move toward forming a breakaway party, two of its organizers said.
The group, which includes former officials at both state and national level, is dismayed by what it says is a modern Republican Party driven by its allegiance to Trump, who continues to falsely claim the 2020 election was stolen from him.
‘The Republican Party is broken. It’s time for a resistance of the ‘rationals’ against the ‘radicals,’ said Miles Taylor, one of the organizers.
Miles Taylor pictured with Trump
Taylor added: ‘This is us saying that a group of more than 100 prominent Republicans think that the situation has gotten so dire with the Republican Party that it is now time to seriously consider whether an alternative might be the only option.
‘I’m one of those in the group that feels very strongly that if we can’t get the G.O.P. back to a rational party that supports free minds, free markets, and free people, I’m out and a lot of people are coming with me.’
Among the signatories are governors, members of Congress, ambassadors, cabinet secretaries, state legislators and Republican Party chairmen.
Taylor, while serving in the Trump White House, wrote an anonymous opinion piece in the New York Times in 2018 headlined: ‘I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration.’
On Tuesday, one Republican lawmaker spoke out against Stefanki as not being conservative enough for the job.
Republican Rep. Chris Roy of Texas argued electing Stefanik into leadership would undermine GOP attempts to win control of the House in the 2024 midterm election.
‘We must avoid putting in charge Republicans who campaign as Republicans but then vote for and advance the Democrats’ agenda once sworn in – that is, that we do not make the same mistakes we did in 2017,’ Roy wrote in a letter sent to all GOP lawmakers that was obtained by Dailymail.com.
‘Therefore, with all due respect to my friend, Elise Stefanik, let us contemplate the message Republican leadership is about to send by rushing to coronate a spokesperson whose voting record embodies much of what led to the 2018 ass-kicking we received by Democrats,’ he noted.
Roy opposed conservative efforts to overturn the election results and defended Cheney after she was criticized for being one of the 10 Republicans who voted to impeach Trump. But he now concedes her time has come and she will exit leadership when House Republicans gather Wednesday morning in the basement of the Capitol.
Stefanik is campaigning hard to replace Cheney and has the endorsement of McCarthy, Trump, and power conservative Rep. Jim Jordan. But other conservatives – including some in the powerful House Freedom Caucus – worry she is not far enough to the right for them.
Cheney, a Republican from Wyoming, holds a far more conservative voting record than Stefanik, but angered Republicans when she repeatedly and publicly challenged Trump’s false claim the presidential election was rigged. Stefanik, in contrast, was one of Trump’s most public defenders.
And Stefanik brushed off concerns about her conservative credentials.
‘We have a great deal of support from the Freedom Caucus and others,’ the New York Republican told reporters on Capitol Hill on Tuesday.
The vote for Cheney’s replacement is expected to happen later this week.
Cheney, a member of a prominent GOP family and the highest ranking woman in Republican leadership, survived that February attempt in 145-61 in a secret-ballot vote.
But Wednesday changed her fate.
As Republicans focus on winning back control of the House, they are increasingly turning to Trump, who still has a strong and vocal base of MAGA supporters who are expected to be active in next year’s primary and general election.
Cheney became an outspoken critic of Trump in the wake of the January 6th MAGA riot on Capitol Hill that left five people dead. She voted to impeach him for his role in inciting the rioters – Trump was acquitted by the Senate – but has made it clear she intends to speak out against his influence on the party.
‘The Republican Party is at a turning point, and Republicans must decide whether we are going to choose truth and fidelity to the Constitution,’ she wrote in an op-ed for the Washington Post last Wednesday.
And she called on other Republicans to join her in speaking out against Trump’s false claim he won the presidential election.
‘History is watching. Our children are watching. We must be brave enough to defend the basic principles that underpin and protect our freedom and our democratic process. I am committed to doing that, no matter what the short-term political consequences might be,’ she wrote.
Last Monday, Cheney slammed Trump for ‘poisoning our democratic system’ as he continued to falsely spout that the 2020 election was stolen from him.
Trump’s office sent out a statement saying: ‘The fraudulent presidential election of 2020 will be, from this day forth, known as the big lie!’
Cheney snapped back.
‘The 2020 presidential election was not stolen,’ she tweeted. ‘Anyone who claims it was is spreading THE BIG LIE, turning their back on the rule of law, and poisoning our democratic system.’
The 2020 contest showed no evidence of widespread voter fraud. Several recounts in states confirmed Joe Biden’s win. Multiple courts threw out Trump’s legal challenges.
Kevin McCarthy has embraced Donald Trump as Republicans seek to win back control of the House of Representatives
Several Republicans said Trump should have done more to rein in his supporters who stormed the Capitol on January 6th.
McCarthy even called him out on the House floor the day, saying Trump bears responsibility for the riot.
Trump erupted in fury. McCarthy flew down to Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s residence in Palm Beach, to make peace.
He called Trump a force in the GOP.
‘He could change the whole course of history,’ McCarthy told The New York Times. ‘This is the tightest tightrope anyone has to walk.’
‘Ignoring the lie emboldens the liar: Read Liz Cheney’s speech on the House floor in full
Thank you very much. I’d like to thank very much my friend, colleague, Mr. Buck, for yielding me time this evening.
I know the topic, Mr. Speaker, is cancel culture; I have some thoughts about that, but tonight, I rise to discuss freedom and our constitutional duty to protect it.
Mr. Speaker, I have been privileged to see firsthand how powerful and how fragile freedom is. 28 years ago, I stood outside a polling place, a schoolhouse in western Kenya. Soldiers had chased away people who were lined up to vote. A few hours later, they came streaming back in, risking further attack, undaunted in their determination to exercise their right to vote. In 1992, I sat across the table from a young mayor in Russia. And I listened to him talk of his dream of liberating his nation from communism. Years later, for his dedication to the cause of freedom, Boris Nemtsov was assassinated by Vladimir Putin’s thugs. In Warsaw, in 1990, I listened to a young Polish woman tell me that her greatest fear was that people would forget. They would forget what it was like to live under Soviet domination. That they would forget the price of freedom. Three men, an immigrant who escaped Castro’s totalitarian regime, a young man who grew up behind the Iron Curtain and became his country’s minister of defense, and a dissident who spent years in the Soviet gulag have all told me it was the miracle of America, captured in the words of President Ronald Reagan, that inspired them. And I have seen the power of faith and freedom. I listened to Pope John Paul II speak to thousands in Nairobi in 1985. And 19 years later, I watched the same pope take my father’s hand, look in his eyes, and say God bless America.
God has blessed America, Mr. Speaker. But our freedom only survives if we protect it. If we honor our oath, taken before God in this chamber, to support and defend the constitution. If we recognize threats to freedom when they arise.
Today, we face a threat America has never seen before. A former president who provoked a violent attack on this Capitol in an effort to steal the election has resumed his aggressive effort to convince Americans that the election was stolen from him. He risks inciting further violence.
Millions of Americans have been misled by the former president. They have heard only his words but not the truth. As he continues to undermine our democratic process, sowing seeds of doubt about whether democracy really works at all.
I am a conservative Republican and the most conservative of conservative principles is reverence for the rule of law.
The Electoral College has voted. More than 60 state and federal courts, including multiple judges the former president appointed, have rejected his claims.
The Trump Department of Justice investigated the former president’s claims of widespread fraud and found no evidence to support them.
The election is over.
That is the rule of law.
That is our constitutional process.
Those who refuse to accept the rulings of our courts are at war with the Constitution.
Our duty is clear. Every one of us who has sworn the oath must act to prevent the unraveling of our democracy.
This is not about policy. This is not about partisanship. This is about our duty as Americans.
Remaining silent and ignoring the lie emboldens the liar. I will not participate in that. I will not sit back and watch in silence while others lead our party down a path that abandons the rule of law and joins the former president’s crusade to undermine our democracy.
As the party of Reagan, Republicans have championed democracy, won the cold war and defeated the Soviet communists. Today, America is on the cusp of another cold war. This time with communist China. Attacks against our democratic process and the rule of law empower our adversaries and feed communist propaganda that American democracy is a failure.
We must speak the truth. Our election was not stolen and America has not failed.
I received a message last week from a Gold Star father who said standing up for the truth honors all who gave all. We must all strive to be worthy of the sacrifice of those who have died for our freedom. They are the patriots Katharine Lee Bates described in the words of ‘America the Beautiful,’ when she wrote, ‘oh beautiful for heroes proved in liberating strife, who more than self their country loved and mercy more than life.’
Ultimately, Mr. Speaker, this is at the heart of what our oath requires: That we love our country more. That we love her so much that we will stand above politics to defend her. That we will do everything in our power to protect our Constitution and our freedom that has been paid for by the blood of so many.
We must love America so much that we will never yield in her defense. That is our duty. Thank you.