WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — House Republicans could vote this week to change their leadership, removing Liz Cheney, the highest-ranking woman in the Republican leadership, from her post as the party deals with continued infighting.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy set a Wednesday vote for removing Cheney from her post in the chamber, saying it was clear that he and his GOP colleagues “need to make a change.”
McCarthy, R-Calif., made the remarks Monday in a letter to Republican lawmakers that did not mention Cheney, R-Wyo., or former President Donald Trump by name.
Cheney seems all but certain to be tossed from the No. 3 House GOP job after repeatedly challenging Trump’s false assertions pinning his November reelection defeat on widespread voting fraud. She has also criticized his role in inciting his supporters’ attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6 as electoral votes were being formally certified, and she was among just 10 Republicans to support the House’s vote to impeach him the following week.
Meanwhile, some Republicas are concerned about the party’s future.
“What I think has happened in the Republican party is policy has been replaced by personal grievance and culture war,” said Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill.
Kinzinger is one of the few Republicans who has publicly defended Cheney.
In a virtual press conference Monday, Kinzinger said he believes his party leaders are using fear and conspiracy theories about a stolen election because it drives base voters. He says he’s concerned those motivations will erode his party.
“If you want to hide because you don’t want to tick off the base, and you don’t want to tell the truth about January 6, you don’t want to have to admit Joe Biden won an election, Cheney makes it uncomfortable for you,” Kinzinger said.
He fears removing Cheney as conference chairwoman means his party is effectively prioritizing loyalty to former President Donald Trump over conservative principles.
On policy, Cheney is widely known as one of the most conservative members in Congress.
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In the wake of the insurrection, McCarthy said then-President Trump bore responsibility. Now he’s calling for Cheney’s ouster after she has repeatedly made that same claim.
“To defeat Nancy Pelosi and the socialist agenda, we need to be united; that’s why we will have a vote next week, and we want to be united in looking, moving forward,” McCarthy said on Fox News Channel’s “Sunday Morning Futures.”
McCarthy says Cheney’s consistent rebuke of Trump is a distraction and doesn’t help Republicans win back the House.
In his letter to his members Monday, McCarthy also wrote, “unfortunately, each day spent relitigating the past is one day less we have to seize the future.”
McCarthy has signaled his desire to remove Cheney for several weeks. His Monday note seemed designed to provide whatever cover wavering GOP lawmakers might need to toss Cheney from her position.
“If we are to succeed in stopping the radical Democratic agenda from destroying our country, these internal conflicts need to be resolved so as to not detract from the efforts of our collective team,” McCarthy wrote. “Having heard from so many of you in recent days, it’s clear that we need to make a change. As such, you should anticipate a vote on recalling the Conference Chair this Wednesday.”
Cheney’s job as chair of the House Republican conference includes formulating party messaging. Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., who came to Congress as an occasional Trump critic but has embraced him over the past two years, seems likely to replace her, though McCarthy might delay that vote.
Trump reiterated his support for Stefanik in a statement Monday.
“The House GOP has a massive opportunity to upgrade this week from warmonger Liz Cheney to gifted communicator Elise Stefanik. Elise has intelligence, an endorsement from American Patriot Brandon Judd and the national border patrol council, she has an A+ from the NRA, and she loves our veterans. She knows how to win, which is what we need!”
While a vote is scheduled for Wednesday, there’s no guarantee Cheney will lose her leadership role. The vote requires two-thirds of all House Republicans to remove her from her leadership role in order for it to happen. But party leaders say they’re confident that is going to happen.
This story is developing. Refresh for updates.