Infighting within the Republican Party is expected to peak this week, driven by the ghostly figure of former President Donald Trump in his hideaway in Mar-a-Lago, Florida.
House Republicans are preparing to oust Liz Cheney from her No. 3 House leader position on Wednesday.
His withdrawal would be punishment for his public criticism of Trump over his role in inciting the Jan.6 Capitol uprising and his “big lie” that last year’s presidential election was stolen from him.
Cheney was one of 10 Republicans to vote for Trump’s impeachment for “incitement to insurgency.”
Leading Republicans took to the political talk show circuit on Sunday to express support or opposition for the Wyoming MP. Critically, Kevin McCarthy, the House Minority Leader who has in the past defended Cheney, made their split official when he told Fox News he was backing Cheney’s rival Elise Stefanik for the third. post.
“What we’re talking about is a leadership position. As conference chair, you have one of the most critical jobs as a messenger going forward, ”McCarthy told Maria Bartiromo on Sunday.
Jim Banks, a congressman from Indiana who chairs the largest Republican caucus in the House, tried to justify the action against Cheney on grounds of “party discipline.”
“Republicans are almost completely unified by a single mission to oppose radicals, dangerous [Joe] Biden Agenda – any other leader who does not focus on this must be replaced, ”he said.
Pressed by Chris Wallace on Fox News on Sunday, Banks couldn’t delay appearances for long. Asked if he still wonders if Biden won the ‘fair and equitable’ presidential election, Banks said he stands by his Jan. 6 decision to oppose certification of constituency votes in several states.
“I have serious concerns about the way the elections went, which is why I opposed on January 6 – I will never apologize,” he said.
Stefanik, a New York representative who is now the favorite to succeed Cheney, has a paradoxically much more moderate voting record than the woman she would replace. Significantly, Stefanik was preferred because she accepted Trump’s lies about the “stolen” election, although authorities call it the most secure in US history.
As Cheney’s plight comes to a head, the fallout from Trump’s false claim that the vote count was rigged against him continues to destabilize the Republican Party. Several states, including Texas, Georgia and Florida, have acted aggressively to restrict access to the ballot boxes in ways that have a particular impact on communities of color, according to the same discredited theory of “voter integrity. “.
In Arizona, Republican Party leaders hired an audit firm called Cyber Ninjas, which has no election monitoring expertise, to examine how the presidential poll went in County of Maricopa.
Part of the exercise involves verifying whether 40,000 ballots cast for Biden contain traces of bamboo – according to a conspiracy theory that suggests they were smuggled in from Asia.
While Trump’s enduring hold over his supporters shakes the party, few individuals still publicly defend Cheney. Bill Cassidy, US Senator from Louisiana, told NBC News’ Meet the Press that “there is a whole bunch of people who agree with Liz Cheney … for us to win in 2022 and 2024 we need everybody. We need those who feel like Liz.