Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) on Monday doubled down on her defense of Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) by taking aim at fellow Republicans for pushing the “cancel culture” they cry foul about onto the third-ranking Republican. This comes just days before the House GOP conference is set to vote on whether to oust Cheney as its chair because she called out former President Trump for his election fraud falsehoods.
Asked to weigh in on House Republicans’ push for Cheney’s ouster, Ernst echoed her remarks last week arguing that differences of opinion should be accepted within the party.
“I think it’s important that we not all be typecast as, you know, this opinion is OK to express, but this is not,” Ernst said, according to a Hill pool report. “I think we all have our own things that we want to talk about and express. I think that’s okay, but at the end of the day we’ve got to come together as Republicans.”
Pressed on Cheney being ostracized by her own party for simply acknowledging that President Biden won the 2020 presidential election, Ernst expressed her dismay over her GOP colleagues feeding into the “cancel culture” that they often decry as they take their outrage out on Cheney in the aftermath of her vote to impeach Trump for “incitement of insurrection.”
“I feel it’s okay to go ahead and express what you feel is right to express and, you know, cancel culture is cancel culture, no matter how you look at it,” Ernst said, according to a Hill pool report. “And unfortunately I think there are those that are trying to silence others in the party.”
Ernst said that although she supports Trump and the former president’s policies, the GOP shouldn’t try to “cancel voices” when they should be focused on regaining the majority in Congress next year.
“We can express different opinions, but we still have to be able to come together,” Ernst said, according to a Hill pool report.
Ernst’s latest defense of Cheney comes on the heels of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s (R-CA) announcement in a letter to his GOP colleagues earlier Monday that the House GOP conference will vote on whether to oust Cheney as its conference chair on Wednesday.
McCarthy claimed that “unlike the left, we embrace free thought and debate,” while griping about Cheney’s refusal to bend to the GOP’s false narrative of a stolen presidential election.
“All members are elected to represent their constituents as they see fit, but our leadership team cannot afford to be distracted from the important work we were elected to do and the shared goals we hope to achieve,” McCarthy wrote in the letter obtained by Punchbowl News.
With the exception of Ernst, who is the only other Republican woman serving in elected leadership, most prominent Republicans have refused to come to Cheney’s defense amid her refusal to go along with Trump’s baseless claims that culminated in the deadly Capitol insurrection on the day of the joint session of Congress cementing Biden’s presidential victory.
Both McCarthy and House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) have openly endorsed Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) to replace Cheney as House GOP conference chair.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) sidestepped an opportunity to defend Cheney amid Republicans’ outrage following her vote to impeach Trump earlier this year, telling reporters last week that “100 percent of my focus is standing up to [the Biden] administration.”