Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) took an opportunity to bash House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) on Friday by saying he was too ignorant of the Constitution to be speaker of the House, a role he is widely expected to step into if Republicans retake control of the chamber after November’s midterm elections.
“Speaker of the House is the second in line for the presidency. It requires somebody who understands and recognizes their duty, their oath, their obligation,” Cheney told ABC News.
“And he’s been completely unfaithful to the Constitution,” she went on. “Demonstrated a total lack of understanding of the significance and the importance of the role of speaker.”
“I don’t believe he should be speaker of the House,” she concluded.
It’s not the first time Cheney has publicly bashed McCarthy. She said in June that he had “turned his back on the Constitution” in his attempt to position himself to be House speaker, calling it a “craven political calculation” that had allied him with racists and antisemites.
Cheney was defeated Tuesday in her state’s GOP primary after having become an antagonist among Republicans still loyal to former President Donald Trump, earning their ire for refusing to parrot Trump’s lies that the 2020 presidential election was “stolen” from him. House Republicans booted her from party leadership last year.
She further enraged Trump Republicans by joining the Jan. 6 House select committee to get to the bottom of Trump supporters’ 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
The committee’s only other GOP member, Rep. Adam Kinzinger (Ill.), has offered similar criticism of the chamber’s top Republican.
“Sometime about a year or two ago, he made the decision that his only goal was to become speaker of the House. And he’ll do whatever he has to do, and he thinks that siding with the insurrectionists is the way to get there. Maybe it will make him speaker,” Kinzinger said in July.
Both McCarthy and Trump endorsed Cheney’s opponent in the Wyoming primary, Harriet Hageman, who won.
Although her time in Congress is coming to an end, Cheney has said she does not plan to recuse herself from public life. Instead, she plans to start a political action committee targeted at anti-Trump Republicans while she weighs a run for the White House.