Liz Cheney clings to GOP post as Trump approves replacement – fr

Liz Cheney clings to GOP post as Trump approves replacement – fr

WASHINGTON – House Republican No.3 Liz Cheney clung to her post as party leaders lined up behind a suspected heir, signaling that the fallout from her clashes with former U.S. President Donald Trump was becoming too difficult for her to overcome.

Steadfast, Cheney on Wednesday pleaded with his GOP colleagues to extricate themselves from a Trump “personality cult,” saying the party and even American democracy were at stake. “History is watching,” she said.

Trump issued a statement giving his “FULL and TOTAL approval” to Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York to replace Cheney. Stefanik, a 36-year-old Trump loyalist who has played an increasingly visible role in the GOP, reacted quickly, stressing her support for her colleagues who will decide her political future.

“Thank you President Trump for your 100% support for the Chairman of the House GOP Conference. We are united and focused on DRAW PELOSI & WIN in 2022! She tweeted.

The events of the day have left the careers of Cheney and Stefanik running in opposite directions, as if to contrast the fates that await Trump’s critics and supporters in today’s GOP.

The turmoil has also raised questions whether the price of political survival in the party involves standing alongside a former president who maintains his false narrative about a fraudulent 2020 election whose supporters have stormed. the Capitol just four months ago in an attempt to disrupt official certification. of Joe Biden’s victory.

Cheney showed no signs of backing down in an opinion piece published Wednesday by the Washington Post.

She denounced the “dangerous and undemocratic cult of Trump’s personality” and warned fellow Republicans against accepting or ignoring his statements “for fundraising and political purposes” .

She said Minority House Leader Kevin McCarthy of R-California had “changed his story” after initially saying Trump “bore responsibility” for the Jan.6 attack on Capitol Hill. McCarthy, who tacitly supports the drive to oust him, has since said Trump posted a video to try to end the violence.

Cheney, in the Post, agreed with Democrats that a bipartisan investigation should focus only on the riot and not on the unrest at some of the racial justice protests last summer. In an apparent reference to her own situation, she said she would defend the “basic principles” of democracy, “whatever the short-term political consequences”.

Dozens of state and local officials and judges on both sides have found no evidence to support Trump’s claims that he was swindled in an election victory.

President Biden told reporters at the White House that the GOP was in the throes of a “kind of meaningful mini-revolution.”

He added, “I think Republicans are further removed from trying to figure out who they are and what they stand for than I thought at this point. “

Cheney, a daughter of Dick Cheney, who was the vice president of George W. Bush and before that a congressman from Wyoming, seemed to have almost limitless potential until this year. His career started on the list after being among 10 House Republicans supporting Trump’s impeachment for prompting supporters to attack the Capitol on Jan.6, when five died.

Combined with the morning endorsement of Republican House Leader No.2 Steve Scalise of Louisiana and McCarthy’s tacit backing, the momentum behind Stefanik’s rise was starting to seem unstoppable.

Stefanik, who represents a huge district in upstate New York, began her House career in 2015 as a moderate Republican.

She spoke out against Trump’s ban on immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries and joined Democrats in voting against Trump’s effort to unilaterally redirect money to building a wall along the southwest border. She also led an effort to recruit female candidates for her party.

The Stefanik rural district, which Barack Obama wore in his successful 2008 and 2012 presidential elections, was subsequently won twice by Trump. She has morphed into a staunch supporter of Trump and was given a leading role in the House Intelligence Committee’s 2019 impeachment hearings.

This was widely seen as a strategic move by the GOP to soften its image by giving a woman a leading role. Stefanik’s status and visibility within the GOP has skyrocketed since then, and she has also become a major fundraiser for the party.

Cheney is the top woman in the GOP leadership. Replacing her with Stefanik – not a man – is seen as politically wise as the party tries to strengthen its weak appeal with female voters.

There are only 31 Republican women in the House, about a third of the Democrats total, but up from the 13 who served in the last Congress.

There were no other visible candidates for Cheney’s post, with a secret ballot from House Republicans on his possible fate next week. A vote on a replacement, apparently Stefanik, could also come that day.

Two Republicans have said another GOP woman, Representative Virginia Foxx of North Carolina, is due to make a formal motion to remove Cheney.

Cheney was making little noticeable effort to solidify his support by calling colleagues or enlisting others to lobby on his behalf, said two House GOP aides who spoke on condition of anonymity to describe the situation. A third person familiar with Cheney’s efforts also said she doesn’t line up the votes.

Cheney’s opposition to Trump put her out of step with most Republicans in the House, 138 of whom voted against certifying the Electoral College vote for Biden’s victory.

Trump’s statement on Wednesday underscored his bitter break with Cheney.

He called Cheney “a hawkish fool who has nothing to do with the leadership of the Republican Party.” He congratulated Stefanik for his support of his America First program and added that she “has my FULL and TOTAL approval for the chair of the GOP conference. Elise is a robust and intelligent communicator! “

Representative Steve Scalise, the House GOP Whip, also backs Stefanik, said Scalise spokesperson Lauren Fine. The Louisiana Republican was the first explicit call from the House’s GOP leadership to oust Cheney from his leadership position.

Stefanik pledged to focus on Republican efforts to take control of the House in the 2022 election “and to fight the radical socialist agenda of President Pelosi and President Biden,” Fine’s statement said.

Scalise’s support was first reported by Punchbowl, a political news organization.

McCarthy said Tuesday that grassroots Republicans were concerned about Cheney’s “ability to do his job” because of his public comments on Trump.

Republicans say a speech by McCarthy supporting Cheney at a closed House GOP meeting in February was widely credited with surviving an earlier Tory push to oust him, in a secret ballot 145-61.

A senior GOP House employee said McCarthy would not be doing it this time around.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Kept his distance from fighting the GOP in the House on Wednesday. When asked if he would help Cheney, he told reporters in Georgetown, Ky., “I am 100% focused on shutting down this new administration.”


Associated Press editors Steve Peoples in New York, Bruce Schreiner in Frankfort, Kentucky, and Lisa Mascaro, Jill Colvin, Alexandra Jaffe, and Kevin Freking in Washington contributed to this report.


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