House Republicans have voted to place Donald Trump loyalist Elise Stefanik in a leadership post, cementing the former president’s enduring grip on the party more than three months after he left the White House.
Republican lawmakers cast their votes by secret ballot on Friday morning just days after they ousted Liz Cheney, the former vice-president’s daughter and a congresswoman from Wyoming, from the same job for her strident attacks on Trump.
Stefanik, a 36-year-old lawmaker from New York, prevailed in the race to replace Cheney as House Republican conference chair after a challenge from the right from Chip Roy, a member of Congress from Texas who questioned her conservative credentials.
Stefanik had Trump’s support for the job, which he reiterated in a statement on the eve of the vote.
“Can’t imagine Republican House Members would go with Chip Roy — he has not done a great job, and will probably be successfully primaried in his own district. I support Elise, by far, over Chip!,” Trump said.
Stefanik’s ascent capped a week of internal drama and strife within the Republican party. Just before being ousted from the Republican leadership, Cheney launched a blistering attack on her fellow party members for kowtowing to Trump and undermining US democracy.
Cheney was among the few Republicans who voted to impeach Trump this year after a mob of his supporters carried out a deadly assault on the US Capitol on January 6.
“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,” Cheney said.