House Republicans will vote Wednesday on whether to oust Rep. Liz Cheney (Wyo.) from leadership after she rejected former President Donald Trump’s election lies, House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) said Monday in a letter that also touted the party’s embrace of “free thought and debate.”
The long-anticipated vote will determine whether Cheney remains in her role as House Republican Conference chair, the party’s third-ranking spot in the chamber.
“Having heard from so many of you in recent days, it’s clear that we need to make a change,” McCarthy wrote in the letter, first reported by Punchbowl News.
She’s almost certain to lose her post ― McCarthy and his No. 2, Rep. Steve Scalise (La.), already voiced support for Rep. Elise Stefanik (N.Y.) to take the role instead. And most importantly in today’s Republican Party, Cheney faces opposition from Trump, who has made clear that the issue is her lack of fealty to himself.
That’s because she won’t say the 2020 presidential election, which has been examined and investigated thoroughly with no signs of mass fraud, was stolen.
“She is being run out for one thing: her consistency,” Rep. Adam Kinzinger (Ill.), one of Cheney’s few outspoken GOP defenders, said at a virtual National Press Club event on Monday. “She said the exact same thing that Kevin McCarthy said on Jan. 6, which is Donald Trump is responsible” for the attack on the Capitol that day, he added.
McCarthy insisted in the letter that ousting her for sharing a different opinion was in line with the party’s values.
“We are a big tent party,” he wrote in a letter to fellow GOP members. “We represent Americans of all backgrounds. ... And unlike the left, we embrace free thought and debate.”
McCarthy framed the vote as important for the Republican conference to move forward and focus on blocking Democratic policies and winning the next election. He and many other Republicans want to move focus past the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol by Trump supporters, spurred on by the president himself and GOP lawmakers’ broader push to reject election results.
Cheney did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the planned vote.
Along with Kinzinger, Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) has been outspoken in defense of Cheney. He tweeted Monday that kicking her out of leadership would only hurt the GOP.