House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) refused to defend Cheney Tuesday when asked about criticism from her fellow Republicans.
“I have heard from members concerned about her ability to carry out the job as conference chair, to carry out the message,” McCarthy said on Fox News, adding that Cheney hasn’t done enough “combating” President Joe Biden.
Cheney, the third-ranking Republican in the House, was one of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Donald Trump for inciting the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. And she has continued to irk Republicans by not lying about the election.
The ex-president said in a statement Monday that the 2020 election was “fraudulent” and that it “will be, from this day forth, known as THE BIG LIE!”
“The big lie” is a propaganda technique of saying something so untrue that people believe it because they can’t imagine that someone could be so incredibly dishonest. It’s an apt term for Trump’s claims about election fraud, which were laughed out of dozens of courts but believed by the mob that ransacked the Capitol.
Cheney objected to Trump’s attempt to trivialize the term.
“The 2020 presidential election was not stolen,” Cheney tweeted Monday in response to Trump. “Anyone who claims it was is spreading THE BIG LIE, turning their back on the rule of law, and poisoning our democratic system.”
A majority of House Republicans, including McCarthy, backed the lie on Jan. 6, voting against certifying election results even after Trump supporters had trashed the building.
Pro-Trump Republicans tried to oust Cheney in February in an internal vote, but failed. They may try again, with Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) auditioning to be her Trump-flattering replacement. Rep. Lance Gooden (R-Texas) predicted Cheney would be out of her position by the end of May.
A Cheney spokesman criticized McCarthy’s comments Tuesday, telling Vice News the question is “whether the Republican Party is going to perpetuate lies about the 2020 election and attempt to whitewash what happened on Jan 6.”
McCarthy initially blamed Trump for the attack, then reversed himself and rushed to Florida to seek the disgraced ex-president’s forgiveness.