GOP House Conference Chair Liz Cheney was removed from her leadership position on Wednesday after months of criticizing Donald Trump — a move that consolidates the party’s continued loyalty to the former president.
The removal reportedly came by voice vote — not by ballot — in a closed-door Republican meeting. Following the vote, Rep. Michelle Fischbach, R-Minn., said she’s ready to look to the future.
“Our top priority, as Republicans, must be pushing back against the liberal overreach of President (Joe) Biden and Speaker (Nancy) Pelosi,” Fischbach said. “As evidenced by today’s vote, our conference has lost faith in Congresswoman Cheney’s ability to look to the future and advance our collective priorities.”
That language echoes House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy — and much of the rest of the party — who have found Cheney’s repeated criticism of the former president, and his unsubstantiated claim that he won re-election, a distraction.
“Each day spent relitigating the past is one day less we have to seize the future,” McCarthy wrote. “This is no time to take our eye off the ball. If we are to succeed in stopping the radical Democrat agenda from destroying our country, these internal conflicts need to be resolved so as to not detract from the efforts of our collective team.”
Cheney, who represents Wyoming, previously survived a leadership challenge in February, but pressure against her mounted as she has continued to criticize Trump. Rep. Kelly Armstrong, R-N.D., told a reporter Friday that he planned to vote against her as well.
“I really respect her, and she has absolutely every right to have this opinion. In fact, she’s not the only one in our conference that does,” Armstrong said. “What she can't do is be the conference chair when she is not willing, on these types of issues, to go where the conference wants to be.”
Though reduced in number, Cheney still has supporters within the party. Rep. Dusty Johnson, R-S.D., said in a statement before the vote that he would continue to back her.
“I’ve had my disagreements with Liz, but she’s a strong, conservative and independent voice,” Johnson said. “We need those qualities in leadership, and I’ll vote against her removal.”