House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) on Thursday jabbed Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) a day after their tense exchange during a House Republican leadership press conference that highlighted the growing divide between Trump loyalists and those who have dared to buck the former president.
When asked on Wednesday whether Trump should speak at CPAC, the Conservative Political Action Conference, in Orlando this weekend, McCarthy quipped: “Yes, he should.”
Cheney, who was standing with the rest of leadership behind McCarthy, stood by her vehement criticism of Trump after the former president incited the mob behind the deadly Capitol insurrection last month.
“That’s up to CPAC,” Cheney said. “I’ve been clear in my views about President Trump and the extent to which following January 6, I don’t believe he should be playing a role in the future of the party or the country.”
The next day, McCarthy was asked by Fox News host Brian Kilmeade whether Cheney’s latest defiance of Trump was “necessary” to say in front of the press.
The Trump loyalist, who backtracked on his initial rebuke of the former president “bearing responsibility” for the Capitol attack, unsurprisingly launched into a Trumpian rant against “cancel culture.”
“Look, I don’t believe in cancel culture, whether it be a Republican or Democrat,” McCarthy said. “I believe in free speech. This Republican Party is a big tent, we are a party of ideas, some people should be hearing our ideas.”
McCarthy continued complaining about Democrats supposedly trying to get cable networks not to cover Fox News and “other stations that they don’t agree.” McCarthy also accused Democrats of attempting to stop Amazon from printing books, before taking aim at Cheney by accusing her of contributing to “cancel culture.”
“But the idea that a Republican would join with cancel culture — I just think is wrong,” McCarthy said. “It’s beyond just having a difference of opinion.”
Watch McCarthy’s remarks below:
Rep. Kevin McCarthy responds to Rep. Liz Cheney's Trump/CPAC comment:
"The idea that a Republican would join with cancel culture is beyond wrong."pic.twitter.com/ESwmdN8ZzC
— The Recount (@therecount) February 25, 2021