WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — There is a possible shake-up at the top of the Republican Party as Rep. Liz Cheney is in danger of losing her leadership role over her continued criticism of former President Donald Trump.
Cheney, R-Wyo., is the third highest-ranking Republican in the House and has come under fire from her own party over comments contradicting Trump’s false claims the 2020 election was stolen. Even the No. 1 & 2 House Republicans say they support her removal from party leadership.
Trump has continued to cast doubt on the presidential election, posting to his website on May 3: “The Fraudulent Presidential Election of 2020 will be, from this day forth, known as THE BIG LIE!”
But Cheney is refusing to back down, penning an op-ed in The Washington Post late Wednesday responding to calls for her removal over her criticism of Trump’s comments.
Republican Party leaders have said it’s likely their conference will hold a vote soon to decide whether to keep her in leadership or replace her. They also said they don’t think she’ll survive that vote.
Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said the opposition to Cheney is not because of her vocal criticism of former President Trump, he said she’s simply lost the faith of most members.
In a statement from spokesperson Lauren Fine, Rep. Steve Scalise, the House GOP whip, said he is backing New York GOP Rep. Elise Stefanik for Cheney’s post. It was the first public statement from Republican leadership that Cheney should be ousted.
Cheney has provoked Republican ire for repeatedly trading barbs with former President Donald Trump, blasting Trump’s claims the 2020 presidential election was stolen.
“House Republicans need to be solely focused on taking back the House in 2022 and fighting against Speaker Pelosi and President Biden’s radical socialist agenda, and Elise Stefanik is strongly committed to doing that, which is why Whip Scalise has pledged to support her for Conference Chair,” Scalise’s spokesperson Lauren Fine said in a statement reported by The Associated Press.
On Tuesday, House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy said rank-and-file Republicans were concerned about Cheney as a result of her public comments about Trump.
“I have heard from members concerned about her ability to carry out her job as conference chair, to carry out the message,” said McCarthy, R-Calif. “We all need to be working as one if we’re able to win the majority. Remember, majorities are not given. They are earned.”
Cheney was among 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump for his role in encouraging the Jan. 6 attack by his supporters on the U.S. Capitol.
Earlier this week, Cheney hit back at Trump’s unfounded claims after the former president issued a statement Monday morning saying, “The Fraudulent Presidential Election of 2020 will be, from this day forth, known as THE BIG LIE!”
“The 2020 presidential election was not stolen,” Cheney wrote in response on Twitter. “Anyone who claims it was is spreading THE BIG LIE, turning their back on the rule of law, and poisoning our democratic system.”
Cheney faced an effort by conservatives to remove her from her leadership post after the impeachment trial. She survived it, but Trump has vowed to throw his support behind a primary challenger to her.
Trump issued two statements on Monday and Wednesday reiterating his desire to see her defeated by another Republican in next year’s Wyoming GOP primary and claiming that people in her state “never liked her much.”
Just six months after winning a third term with almost 70%, Cheney already faces at least two Republican primary opponents in 2022.
The Wyoming Republican Party voted overwhelmingly to censure Cheney. The censure document accused Cheney of voting to impeach Trump, even though the House didn’t offer him a “formal hearing or due process.”
Cheney, the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney and a fixture of the party establishment, blasted her state party for the censure, noting that state Republicans embraced conspiracy theories such as the inaccurate claim non-Trump supporters were behind the violent protests.
Reporting contributed by Lisa Mascaro, Alan Fram and Mead Gruver. The Associated Press contributed to this report.