Republicans in the US House of Representatives could vote as early as Wednesday on whether Cheney, the daughter of former US Vice President Dick Cheney, will retain her post as Speaker of the Republican Conference.
On Sunday, the top House Republican said he supported the candidacy of Congresswoman Elise Stefanik, a Trump supporter, to take on the role.
“We want to be united to move forward, and I think that’s what’s going to happen,” Congressman Kevin McCarthy said in an interview on Fox News Sunday Morning Futures on Sunday.
Second-row Republican House Leader Steve Scalise also backs Stefanik, a 36-year-old New York state lawmaker whose party status rose after defending Trump in congressional hearings ahead of his impeachment in 2019.
The controversial vote is the latest example of a growing rift within the Republican Party between supporters and critics of Trump, who has sought to present himself as the only political leader capable of uniting the party.
Cheney has publicly lambasted Trump for his false claims that last year’s US presidential election was stolen from him amid widespread electoral fraud.
She was also among 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump for inciting insurgency after a crowd of her supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol building on Jan.6 in a riot that killed five people.
Some of the Republicans who voted to impeach Trump have since faced reprimands from their respective Republican parties.
In an opinion piece published Wednesday in the Washington Post, Cheney denounced the “dangerous and undemocratic cult of Trump’s personality” and warned fellow Republicans against adopting or ignoring his statements ” for fundraising and political purposes ”.
Other Republicans have also warned that Cheney’s likely expulsion from the party leadership could bring down the GOP.
“Right now it’s basically the Titanic,” Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger, who also voted to impeach Trump, told CBS’s Face the Nation program. “We are in the middle of this slow sink. We have a band playing on the bridge and telling everyone that everything is fine.
Republican Gov. of Maryland, Larry Hogan, said it bothered him “whether you have to swear loyalty to the dear leader or get kicked out of the party.”
“It just doesn’t make sense,” Hogan said in an interview with NBC’s Meet the Press program on Sunday.