Republicans oust Rep. Liz Cheney from leadership over her opposition to Trump and GOP election lies
- Republicans voted Wednesday to remove Rep. Liz Cheney as chair of the House Republican Conference.
- Cheney was ousted over her criticism of Donald Trump and the GOP's lies about the 2020 election.
- "Remaining silent and ignoring the lie emboldens the liar," Cheney said on the House floor Tuesday.
House Republicans voted Wednesday morning to remove Rep. Liz Cheney from her leadership position after the Wyoming lawmaker repeatedly pushed back on Republican lies about the 2020 election.
Cheney was one of just 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach President Donald Trump over the Capitol insurrection in January, and she has since criticized her party's embrace of Trump's continued campaign to undermine faith in the legitimacy of the 2020 US presidential election.
Following a voice vote during a GOP conference meeting, Cheney appeared defiant and insisted that she would continue her battle against Trump and his allies.
"If you want leaders who will enable and spread his destructive lies, I'm not your person - you have plenty of others to choose from. That will be their legacy," she said. "I will do everything I can to ensure that the former president never again gets anywhere near the Oval Office."
Cheney, the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, delivered a scathing rebuke of her colleagues on the House floor Tuesday night and said she wouldn't "watch in silence" as Trump and other GOP leaders undermined the democratic process.
"Remaining silent and ignoring the lie emboldens the liar," she said. "I will not participate in that. I will not sit back and watch in silence while others lead our party down a path that abandons the rule of law and joins the former president's crusade to undermine our democracy."
-Reuters (@Reuters) May 12, 2021
In a Washington Post op-ed article last week, Cheney urged her party to "steer away from the dangerous and anti-democratic Trump cult of personality."
The party's leaders have aligned behind Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York to replace Cheney as chair of the House Republican Conference. House Republicans plan to hold a candidate forum Thursday followed by a vote on Cheney's replacement Friday, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy announced.
Stefanik is among the most moderate members of her party on policy issues, and she broke from Trump on several key pieces of legislation during his presidency, including his 2017 tax cuts. But the 36-year-old congresswoman became an outspoken proponent of Trump's, aggressively defending him during his first impeachment trial and embracing his election lies.
Trump has repeatedly weighed in on the intraparty fight, calling Cheney a "warmongering fool" and endorsing Stefanik, whom he's celebrated as "a new Republican star." After the Wednesday vote, Trump released a statement calling Cheney "a bitter, horrible human being" and reveled in her ouster.
Cheney survived a previous vote to recall her, in February, but the backlash against her grew over the past few months as she continued to publicly criticize Trump and the party, straining her relationships with both McCarthy and the House minority whip, Rep. Steve Scalise.
In the weeks following the Capitol riot, it seemed possible that a significant number of Republican lawmakers and voters would distance themselves or even break from Trump. Sen. Mitch McConnell - then the majority leader - blamed Trump for the riot, cut ties with him, and suggested he might vote to convict Trump in his postpresidential impeachment trial.
McCarthy also blamed Trump for not responding more quickly to call off the rioters. Several of Trump's Cabinet secretaries resigned early.
But it soon became clear that Republicans' core voters would remain loyal to Trump. McConnell ultimately voted against conviction, and McCarthy began defending Trump's response to the riot.
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