House Republicans ousted Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo) from her post as the chamber’s No. 3 GOP leader on Wednesday after she repeatedly rebuked former President Donald Trump for his claims of election fraud.
Meeting behind closed doors for less than 20 minutes, GOP lawmakers used a voice vote to remove Cheney, from the party’s No. 3 House position, a jarring turnabout to what’s been her fast-rising career within the party.
She was Congress’s highest-ranking Republican woman, a daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, and her removal marked a jarring turnabout to what’s been her fast rise within the party.
In an audacious signal that she was not backing down, Cheney took to a nearly empty House chamber Tuesday evening to deliver an unapologetic four-minute assault on her GOP adversaries and defense of her own position.
“Remaining silent and ignoring the lie emboldens the liar,” she said, adding, “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.”
Cheney's replacement was widely expected to be Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., who entered the House in 2015 at age 30, then the youngest woman ever elected to Congress. Stefanik owns a more moderate voting record than Cheney but has evolved into a vigorous Trump defender.
It’s been clear that Cheney’s days in leadership were numbered as House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., No. 2 leader Steve Scalise, R-La., joined Trump and other Republicans from across the party’s spectrum aligned against her.
Critics said Cheney’s offense wasn’t her views on Trump but her persistence in publicly expressing them, undermining the unity they want party leaders to display as they message in advance of next year’s elections when they hope to win House control.
“It’s not about right or wrong. It’s about the focus" of House Republicans, Scalise said Tuesday.