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Republicans strip Rep. Liz Cheney of leadership role

Rep. Liz Cheney
Posted at 4:32 AM, May 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-12 10:14:41-04

In a private vote Wednesday morning, House Republicans voted to remove Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyoming, from her role as the party’s conference chair, a day after she delivered a defiant speech from the chamber floor.

According to CNN, Wednesday's vote was held by voice vote and taken without debate.

"I am absolutely committed, as I said last night and as I said just now to my colleagues, that we must go forward based on truth," Cheney said following the vote. "We cannot both embrace the ‘big lie’ and embrace the Constitution."

Cheney, the third-highest ranking member of the Republican caucus, is an outspoken critic of President Donald Trump. She was one of 10 Republican House members to vote to impeach former President Donald Trump following the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.

Following Wednesday's vote, Cheney said she was still committed to stopping Trump win re-election in 2024.

"I will do everything I can to ensure that the former president never again gets anywhere near the Oval Office. We have seen the danger that he continues to provoke with his language. We have seen his lack of commitment and dedication to the Constitution, and I think it’s very important that we make sure whomever we elect is someone who will be faithful to the Constitution."

Cheney's impeachment vote led to several Republicans challenged her leadership role earlier this year. But she ultimately survived that initial vote after House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy came to her defense.

Since that vote, Cheney has doubled down on her insistence that Republicans break away from Trump’s influence, despite his continued popularity within the party. She’s one of the few party members who has maintained that Trump’s persistent false claims of widespread fraud in the 2020 election is a lie.

"Remaining silent and ignoring the lie emboldens the liar," Cheney said Tuesday in her speech from the House floor. "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."

Other Republican leaders, like House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, say Cheney’s comments are undermining the party’s attempts to build opposition to the Biden administration’s agenda.

Reports that McCarthy’s confidence had begun wavering in Cheney surfaced earlier this month, when Axios obtained an off-air recording of McCarthy during a Fox News segment.

"I think she's got real problems," McCarthy said, according to Axios. "I've had it with her. You know, I've lost confidence. ... Well, someone just has to bring a motion, but I assume that will probably take place."

With her fate sealed, Cheney spoke on the House floor on Tuesday and defended her actions.

"Our duty is clear: Every one of us who has sworn the oath must act to prevent the unraveling of our democracy," Cheney said on Tuesday. "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."

Following Wednesday's vote, Cheney said the Republican Party had strayed from its goals of conservatism.

"The nation needs a party that is based on strong fundamental principals of conservatism. I am committed and dedicated to ensuring that that’s how this party goes forward, and I plan to lead the fight to do that," Cheney said. "...we cannot be dragged backward by the very dangerous lies of a former president."

Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-New York, is one of the top candidates to replace Cheney as a conference chair. A one-time moderate Republican who has risen to power in the party by pivoting to embrace Trump’s policies and rhetoric.