House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) privately encouraged Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) on Wednesday to apologize to their fellow House Republicans for voting to impeach then-President Donald Trump last month, Axios and Politico reported.
His reported request came hours before the House GOP conference met to vote on whether to remove Cheney as their chair for her decision to support Trump’s impeachment in the wake of the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. She was one of 10 House Republicans to do so.
McCarthy had reportedly told Cheney, the third-ranking House GOP member, that members of their conference wanted to hear her say she was sorry and that she might sway some of them to vote to keep her in leadership if she did. But Cheney reportedly refused because she didn’t feel it was appropriate and because her team believed she had enough votes anyway.
“Several members have asked me to apologize for the vote, they’ve asked my colleagues who also voted to impeach to apologize for the vote,” Cheney said later Wednesday during the conference meeting, according to Axios. “I cannot do that. It was a vote of conscience. It was a vote of principle — a principle on which I stand and still believe.”
House Republicans ultimately voted 145-61 to allow Cheney to remain as conference chair. Still, she has continued to face dissent within her party in recent days. The Wyoming Republican Party voted Saturday to censure Cheney and called on her to immediately resign.
Cheney said Sunday that she has no plans to step down. She said some members of her party have bought into Trump’s “lie” of a stolen election and baseless conspiracy theories about the Capitol riot.
“People in the party are mistaken,” Cheney told Fox News. “They believe that BLM and antifa were behind what happened here at the Capitol. That’s just simply not the case. It’s not true. ... People have been lied to.”
“We’ve never seen that kind of assault by the president of the United States on another branch of government,” she later stated, adding: “This is not something we can simply look past or pretend didn’t happen or try to move on. We’ve got to make sure this never happens again.”