Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) on Tuesday went after Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) following a reportedly heated exchange during the House GOP’s first in-person meeting in months due to coronavirus-related restrictions.
Gaetz accused the GOP conference chair of working against President Trump behind the scenes and publicly before calling for her removal in a Tuesday tweet.
Liz Cheney has worked behind the scenes (and now in public) against @realDonaldTrump and his agenda.
House Republicans deserve better as our Conference Chair.
Liz Cheney should step down or be removed. #MAGA
— Matt Gaetz (@mattgaetz) July 21, 2020
Gaetz’s public call for Cheney’s ouster came after Politico reported on Tuesday that a heated exchange ensued during a House GOP conference meeting. Reps. Gaetz, Jim Jordan (R-OH), Andy Biggs (R-AZ), Thomas Massie (R-KY), Chip Roy (R-TX) and Louie Gohmert (R-TX) reportedly piled on Cheney for breaking with the President numerous times in recent months regarding his response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
During the meeting, Gaetz went after Cheney for backing Massie’s Republican primary challenger, according to Politico. Massie and several other House Republicans reportedly joined in on criticizing her for her involvement in the race.
According to Politico, Cheney hit back at Massie by telling him that he has an issue with Trump, not her, because the President openly called for Massie’s ouster in the past — which Massie vehemently disagreed with. Cheney reportedly also took a sarcastic swipe at Gaetz by telling him that “she looks forward to seeing his HBO documentary.”
Tensions in the meeting escalated when Roy took Cheney to task for her support of Dr. Anthony Fauci amid recent White House efforts to discredit him. The nation’s top infectious disease expert has faced the ire of the Trump administration as he warns the public about the severity of surges of the coronavirus throughout the country.
Politico reported that Cheney was then scorned for not supporting the President enough and supposedly undermining her fellow House Republicans. Cheney reportedly continued defending Fauci and urging House Republicans to focus on defeating the virus instead of launching attacks against people who are trying to accomplish that.
According to Politico, Cheney told reporters after the meeting that “we’re all unified” and did not respond when asked whether anyone apologized to her after the reportedly heated exchange.
Cheney said that the meeting consisted of discussions “at length about the dangers if Joe Biden is elected president.”
Politico noted, however, that Cheney was later seen on the House floor talking to Massie.
Both Donald Trump Jr. and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) backed Gaetz’s call by quote-tweeting the Florida Republican shortly after. While Trump Jr. tweeted that the GOP doesn’t need “the endless wars (Cheney) advocates for,” Paul argued in his tweet that Cheney is “leading the fight to stop” the President from getting the country out of “our endless wars.”
Cheney’s office did not immediately respond to TPM’s request for comment.