In a closed-door meeting in the basement of the Capitol, Republicans voted to oust Cheney after she repeatedly called out Trump’s false claims he won the election and criticized his role in the January 6 insurrection.
Cheney addressed Republicans in the room before the vote.
‘If you want leaders who will enable and spread [Trump’s] destructive lies, I’m not your person, you have plenty of others to choose from,’ she said in brief remarks.
She vowed to keep fighting. ‘I promise you this, after today, I will be leading the fight to restore our party and our nation to conservative principles, to defeating socialism, to defending our republic, to making the GOP worthy again of being the party of Lincoln,’ she said, before ending her remarks with a prayer.
House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy will now push to unit the party and focus on the 2022 midterm election where the GOP will try to win back control of the House.
McCarthy then plans to run for speaker and is counting on Trump’s large, active base of supporters to help return the party to power next year after Democrats took the House, Senate and White House in the 2020 election. He’s made repeated trips to Mar-a-Lago and speaks to Trump on the phone frequently.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., arrives as House Republicans meet at the Capitol for the vote
Cheney plans to run for re-election in Wyoming and she has a political operation in place headed into the 2022 midterms.
And she plans to keep holding her fellow Republicans accountable.
‘A former president who provoked a violent attack on this Capitol, in an effort to steal the election, has resumed his aggressive effort to convince Americans that the election was stolen from him,’ she said in a speech on the House floor Tuesday evening.
‘This is not about policy. This is not about partisanship. This is about our duty as Americans. Remaining silent and ignoring the lie emboldens the liar,’ she noted, wearing a pin given to her by her mother that evokes Gen. George Washington’s battle flag.
‘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.’
Ahead of the vote on Wednesday morning, Trump released a statement calling Cheney a ‘warmonger’.
‘The Republicans in the House of Representatives have a great opportunity today to rid themselves of a poor leader, a major Democrat talking point, a warmonger, and a person with absolutely no personality or heart,’ he wrote. ‘As a representative of the Great State of Wyoming, Liz Cheney is bad for our Country and bad for herself.
Liz Cheney on Tuesday refused to back down ahead of vote to oust her from GOP leadership, calling Donald Trump a liar ‘on a crusade to undermine our democracy’
Ahead of the vote on Wednesday morning, Trump released a statement calling Cheney a ‘warmonger’. Trump spent two days holed up in Trump Tower in Manhattan before he was pictured leaving Tuesday, along with his heavy security detail
‘Almost everyone in the Republican Party, including 90% of Wyoming, looks forward to her ouster—and that includes me!’
As Trump cements his hold on Republicans, polls show the GOP is with him. The latest Morning Consult/Politico poll found 50% of Republican voters think Cheney should be removed from her leadership role, while only 18% think she should keep it.
There are few Republicans who vocally oppose Trump. One is GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger, who has spoken out against the former president and supported Cheney.
Kinzinger also spoke up against McCarthy, writing on Twitter in a long thread on Wednesday morning: ‘Kevin wants to be speaker. He made the determination that if he appeased the Trump crowd, he could raise money and take the credit, when he was up for speaker.
‘Liz may lose, and MAGA-lago may celebrate. But I predict that the history books of the future will not celebrate. They will say this was the low point of the Republican Party.
‘The loser former guy, who has thin skin and snowflake like personality will solidify his momentary leadership, and we will solidify our position as a once honorable party that was marred by lies.’
With Cheney out, Republicans will have to replace her as GOP Conference Chair, the Number Three leadership position.
But on Tuesday, one Republican lawmaker spoke out against Rep. Elise Stefanik, the frontrunner to replace Cheney, as not being conservative enough for the job.
Republican Rep. Chris Roy of Texas argued electing Stefanik into leadership would undermine GOP attempts to win control of the House in the 2024 midterm election.
A Republican lawmaker said Rep. Elise Stefanik, the front-runner to replace Liz Cheney in party leadership, isn’t conservative enough for the job
‘We must avoid putting in charge Republicans who campaign as Republicans but then vote for and advance the Democrats’ agenda once sworn in – that is, that we do not make the same mistakes we did in 2017,’ Roy wrote in a letter sent to all GOP lawmakers that was obtained by Dailymail.com.
‘Therefore, with all due respect to my friend, Elise Stefanik, let us contemplate the message Republican leadership is about to send by rushing to coronate a spokesperson whose voting record embodies much of what led to the 2018 ass-kicking we received by Democrats,’ he noted.
Roy opposed conservative efforts to overturn the election results and defended Cheney after she was criticized for being one of the 10 Republicans who voted to impeach Trump. But he now concedes her time has come and she will exit leadership when House Republicans gather Wednesday morning in the basement of the Capitol.
Stefanik is campaigning hard to replace Cheney and has the endorsement of McCarthy, Trump, and power conservative Rep. Jim Jordan. But other conservatives – including some in the powerful House Freedom Caucus – worry she is not far enough to the right for them.
Cheney, a Republican from Wyoming, holds a far more conservative voting record than Stefanik, but angered Republicans when she repeatedly and publicly challenged Trump’s false claim the presidential election was rigged. Stefanik, in contrast, was one of Trump’s most public defenders.
And Stefanik brushed off concerns about her conservative credentials.
‘We have a great deal of support from the Freedom Caucus and others,’ the New York Republican told reporters on Capitol Hill on Tuesday.
The vote for Cheney’s replacement is expected to happen later this week.
Cheney, a member of a prominent GOP family and the highest ranking woman in Republican leadership, survived that February attempt in 145-61 in a secret-ballot vote.
But Wednesday changed her fate.
As Republicans focus on winning back control of the House, they are increasingly turning to Trump, who still has a strong and vocal base of MAGA supporters who are expected to be active in next year’s primary and general election.
Cheney became an outspoken critic of Trump in the wake of the January 6th MAGA riot on Capitol Hill that left five people dead. She voted to impeach him for his role in inciting the rioters – Trump was acquitted by the Senate – but has made it clear she intends to speak out against his influence on the party.
‘The Republican Party is at a turning point, and Republicans must decide whether we are going to choose truth and fidelity to the Constitution,’ she wrote in an op-ed for the Washington Post last Wednesday.
And she called on other Republicans to join her in speaking out against Trump’s false claim he won the presidential election.
‘History is watching. Our children are watching. We must be brave enough to defend the basic principles that underpin and protect our freedom and our democratic process. I am committed to doing that, no matter what the short-term political consequences might be,’ she wrote.
Kevin McCarthy has embraced Donald Trump as Republicans seek to win back control of the House of Representatives
Last Monday, Cheney slammed Trump for ‘poisoning our democratic system’ as he continued to falsely spout that the 2020 election was stolen from him.
Trump’s office sent out a statement saying: ‘The fraudulent presidential election of 2020 will be, from this day forth, known as the big lie!’
Cheney snapped back.
‘The 2020 presidential election was not stolen,’ she tweeted. ‘Anyone who claims it was is spreading THE BIG LIE, turning their back on the rule of law, and poisoning our democratic system.’
The 2020 contest showed no evidence of widespread voter fraud. Several recounts in states confirmed Joe Biden’s win. Multiple courts threw out Trump’s legal challenges.
Several Republicans said Trump should have done more to rein in his supporters who stormed the Capitol on January 6th.
McCarthy even called him out on the House floor the day, saying Trump bears responsibility for the riot.
Trump erupted in fury. McCarthy flew down to Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s residence in Palm Beach, to make peace.
He called Trump a force in the GOP.
‘He could change the whole course of history,’ McCarthy told The New York Times. ‘This is the tightest tightrope anyone has to walk.’
‘Ignoring the lie emboldens the liar: Read Liz Cheney’s speech on the House floor in full
Thank you very much. I’d like to thank very much my friend, colleague, Mr. Buck, for yielding me time this evening.
I know the topic, Mr. Speaker, is cancel culture; I have some thoughts about that, but tonight, I rise to discuss freedom and our constitutional duty to protect it.
Mr. Speaker, I have been privileged to see firsthand how powerful and how fragile freedom is. 28 years ago, I stood outside a polling place, a schoolhouse in western Kenya. Soldiers had chased away people who were lined up to vote. A few hours later, they came streaming back in, risking further attack, undaunted in their determination to exercise their right to vote. In 1992, I sat across the table from a young mayor in Russia. And I listened to him talk of his dream of liberating his nation from communism. Years later, for his dedication to the cause of freedom, Boris Nemtsov was assassinated by Vladimir Putin’s thugs. In Warsaw, in 1990, I listened to a young Polish woman tell me that her greatest fear was that people would forget. They would forget what it was like to live under Soviet domination. That they would forget the price of freedom. Three men, an immigrant who escaped Castro’s totalitarian regime, a young man who grew up behind the Iron Curtain and became his country’s minister of defense, and a dissident who spent years in the Soviet gulag have all told me it was the miracle of America, captured in the words of President Ronald Reagan, that inspired them. And I have seen the power of faith and freedom. I listened to Pope John Paul II speak to thousands in Nairobi in 1985. And 19 years later, I watched the same pope take my father’s hand, look in his eyes, and say God bless America.
God has blessed America, Mr. Speaker. But our freedom only survives if we protect it. If we honor our oath, taken before God in this chamber, to support and defend the constitution. If we recognize threats to freedom when they arise.
Today, we face a threat America has never seen before. A former president who provoked a violent attack on this Capitol in an effort to steal the election has resumed his aggressive effort to convince Americans that the election was stolen from him. He risks inciting further violence.
Millions of Americans have been misled by the former president. They have heard only his words but not the truth. As he continues to undermine our democratic process, sowing seeds of doubt about whether democracy really works at all.
I am a conservative Republican and the most conservative of conservative principles is reverence for the rule of law.
The Electoral College has voted. More than 60 state and federal courts, including multiple judges the former president appointed, have rejected his claims.
The Trump Department of Justice investigated the former president’s claims of widespread fraud and found no evidence to support them.
The election is over.
That is the rule of law.
That is our constitutional process.
Those who refuse to accept the rulings of our courts are at war with the Constitution.
Our duty is clear. Every one of us who has sworn the oath must act to prevent the unraveling of our democracy.
This is not about policy. This is not about partisanship. This is about our duty as Americans.
Remaining silent and ignoring the lie emboldens the liar. 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.
As the party of Reagan, Republicans have championed democracy, won the cold war and defeated the Soviet communists. Today, America is on the cusp of another cold war. This time with communist China. Attacks against our democratic process and the rule of law empower our adversaries and feed communist propaganda that American democracy is a failure.
We must speak the truth. Our election was not stolen and America has not failed.
I received a message last week from a Gold Star father who said standing up for the truth honors all who gave all. We must all strive to be worthy of the sacrifice of those who have died for our freedom. They are the patriots Katharine Lee Bates described in the words of “America the Beautiful,” when she wrote, “oh beautiful for heroes proved in liberating strife, who more than self their country loved and mercy more than life.”
Ultimately, Mr. Speaker, this is at the heart of what our oath requires: That we love our country more. That we love her so much that we will stand above politics to defend her. That we will do everything in our power to protect our Constitution and our freedom that has been paid for by the blood of so many.
We must love America so much that we will never yield in her defense. That is our duty. Thank you.