ALL NEWS

House Republicans oust Liz Cheney out of leadership post over feud with Trump

May 12, 2021, 6:52 AM | Updated: Jan 25, 2023, 11:53 am
In this April 20, 2021, photo, House Republican Conference Chair Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., speaks to...
In this April 20, 2021, photo, House Republican Conference Chair Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., speaks to reporters following a GOP meeting at the Capitol in Washington. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., has set a Wednesday vote for removing Cheney from her No. 3 Republican leadership post after Cheney repeatedly challenged former President Donald Trump over his claims of widespread voting fraud and his role in encouraging supporters' Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

    (CNN) — Rep. Liz Cheney has lost her post in the House Republican leadership on Wednesday after publicly rejecting for months former President Donald Trump’s lie that he won the 2020 presidential election.

House Republicans, who ousted Cheney by voice vote behind closed doors on Capitol Hill, are instead likely to replace her with New York Rep. Elise Stefanik, who has a less conservative voting record than Cheney but has emerged as one of Trump’s top defenders. Cheney did not back down in a speech on Tuesday evening, touting her conservative credentials amid criticism from Trump’s allies.

“I am a conservative Republican, and the most conservative of conservative principles is reverence for the rule of law,” she said in a floor speech. “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.”

LIVE UPDATES: House Republicans to vote on Liz Cheney’s leadership role

Despite her feud with Trump, House Republicans overwhelmingly voted in early February to keep Cheney as the No. 3 House Republican, who is in charge of executing the conference’s message to the public.

Unlike that vote a few months ago when she worked behind the scenes to fend off the push for her ouster, Cheney is not whipping her colleagues to stay in her position. A senior GOP member of Congress who supported Cheney then told CNN he has not heard from her ahead of Wednesday’s vote.

Cheney’s renunciation of Trump has drawn a stark contrast with House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy, who traveled to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort after saying that Trump bore responsibility for the attack on the Capitol. While McCarthy previously supported Cheney, he now backs Stefanik for the House GOP’s No. 3 role.

The relationship between McCarthy and Cheney started to crumble a couple weeks after the vote on her leadership in February, when a reporter at a press conference asked if Trump should speak at the Conservative Political Action Conference.

McCarthy said “yes,” while Cheney said, “I don’t believe that he should be playing a role in the future of the party or the country.”

McCarthy then ended his appearances at press events with Cheney, raised questions about the election and distanced himself from her attacks.

Cheney’s remarks last week seemed to be McCarthy’s last straw. After Trump attempted to rebrand his loss as “THE BIG LIE!,” the Wyoming Republican noted that the 2020 election “was not stolen” and tweeted that “anyone who claims it was is spreading THE BIG LIE, turning their back on the rule of law, and poisoning our democratic system.”

Well aware that the other members of the House GOP leadership are men, Trump, McCarthy, House GOP Whip Steve Scalise and others quickly backed Stefanik, who has worked to elect more Republican women in Congress.

“Everyone in leadership serves at the pleasure of the conference,” McCarthy said on Fox News last weekend. “We want to be united in moving forward.”

When asked Tuesday if Cheney pushed back too much on Trump, Scalise argued it wasn’t about Cheney’s comments on the former President specifically, but rather how her comments detracted from Republicans’ larger message.

“It’s not about right or wrong, it’s about the focus of our conference, and focusing on pushing back on the agenda that’s being pushed by the Biden administration,” Scalise said Tuesday.

Stefanik’s approval of Trump has increased along with her upstate New York district, which supported Barack Obama in 2012 but went for Trump in 2016 and 2020. In 2016, the congresswoman backed Trump as the party’s presidential nominee, but occasionally criticized him and wouldn’t say his name when asked who she’d support.

Early in the Trump presidency, she aligned herself with then-House Speaker Paul Ryan and focused on her work on the Armed Services and Intelligence committees. She also broke with Trump on some key priorities, including his decision to withdraw the US from the Paris climate accord and the 2017 GOP tax bill.

But when House Democrats moved to impeach Trump for the first time in 2019, Stefanik emerged as one of the President’s most outspoken defenders. She earned Trump’s praise in the process; the President called her “a new Republican star.”

In January, Stefanik objected to certifying Joe Biden’s election, and supported a Texas lawsuit that sought to overturn the results of it in battleground states Trump lost. The Supreme Court rejected the lawsuit, saying Texas lacked standing to throw out the results in other states.

Stefanik has continued to cast doubt on Biden’s victory, saying last week that she “fully” supports a controversial Republican-led audit in Arizona, where Biden narrowly won.

There is no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election. But some House Republicans who supported Cheney in February have said her continued rejection of Trump’s false claims have fractured the party’s message as it seeks to win back the House in 2022.

Even before Monday’s vote, Cheney had been looking beyond her expulsion from House GOP leadership to the next steps of her plan to fight for the future of the Republican Party, enlisting the help from alumni of the Bush administration and other conservatives who have already spoken out against Trump.

Three people familiar with these conversations tell CNN that Cheney has become more actively engaged with Republicans outside of the House conference in recent days, talking and strategizing with these allies about her path forward. The first piece of the plan came in her pointed speech on the House floor last night, which one friend describes “as a model for her path forward.”

In the coming days, the next steps of the plan will become clear, including an effort to “rally the voices of Republicans who share her view,” another GOP confidante says. Cheney intends to make clear that she is has “no intentions of abandoning the Republican Party.”

This story and headline have been updated with additional developments Wednesday.

The-CNN-Wire
™ & © 2021 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories

All News

Utah State University researchers measure the temperature at minus 10 degrees in the Logan Canyon M...
Mark Jones

Monday morning’s cold temperatures nearly set new records

Cold temperatures Monday morning in northern Utah nearly set new records.
1 day ago
education legislation...
Mark Jones

One Utah lawmaker wants to ban cellphones in classrooms

One Utah lawmaker wants to ban cellphones in Utah classrooms.
1 day ago
Schools in the Cache County School District are on a 2-hour delayed start on Tuesday, Jan. 31, due ...
Devin Oldroyd

Freezing weather causes delayed start for Cache County School District schools

Schools in the Cache County School District are on a 2-hour delayed start on Tuesday, Jan. 31, due to weather conditions.
1 day ago
FILE - A doctor loads a dose of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe, Thursday, Dec. 2, 2021, at ...
Aimee Cobabe

Bill banning vaccine passports heading to Utah Senate

A bill to ban vaccine passports is heading out of the Utah House and into the Utah Senate. The bill is similar to a failed bill from 2022.
1 day ago
A two-vehicle crash Monday morning on U.S. Highway 40 claimed the life of a 19-year-old man. Photo ...
Mark Jones

Crash in Uintah County claims the life of a 19-year-old man

UINTAH COUNTY, Utah — A 19-year-old man died Monday morning in a two-vehicle crash on U.S. Highway 40 in Uintah County. The Utah Highway Patrol says the crash occurred near milepost 137 at 7:11 a.m. The UHP says a 2017 Nissan Rouge was heading westbound. The 19-year-old victim was the driver of the Nissan Rouge. […]
1 day ago
It's so cold today (Jan. 30) that plumbers are expecting calls anytime from customers needing servi...
Curt Gresseth

When it’s this cold, keep your pipes from freezing. Here’s how.

It's so cold outside today that a plumber has joined the show to share tips on keeping your pipes inside and outside your home from freezing.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...
Intermountain Health

Five Common Causes of Cervical Cancer – and What You Can Do to Lower Your Risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer, the tests that can warn women about potential cancer, and the importance of vaccination.
Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get Ready for Fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy. This year the event will be held from January 27-29 at the Utah Bear Lake State Park Marina and Sunrise Resort and Event Center in Garden City, Utah. 
happy friends with sparklers at christmas dinner...
Macey's

15 Easy Christmas Dinner Ideas

We’ve scoured the web for you and narrowed down a few of our favorite Christmas dinner ideas to make your planning easy. Choose from the dishes we’ve highlighted to plan your meal or start brainstorming your own meal plan a couple of weeks before to make sure you have time to shop and prepare.
Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...
Macey's

5 Game Day Snacks for the Whole Family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...
Sorenson

The Best Tools for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Workplace Success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...
Macey's

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
House Republicans oust Liz Cheney out of leadership post over feud with Trump