House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) has said he now has “concerns” about Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) after she voted to impeach former President Trump earlier this month.
“Look, I support her, but I also have concerns,” McCarthy said in an interview scheduled to air on Sunday on “Full Court Press with Greta Van Susteren.”
McCarthy’s fresh “concerns” over Cheney come after he rejected calls last week from House Republicans who have demanded her ouster.
In the forthcoming interview, McCarthy seemed to create some distance from his initial support of the No. 3 House Republican by suggesting he had not been previously made aware of Cheney’s decision to vote in favor of impeachment, a move that drew ire from Republicans colleagues who have called on Cheney to step down from her position as conference chair.
“She never told me ahead of time,” McCarthy said after Cheney urged Republican colleagues to make a “vote of conscience” supporting Donald Trump’s impeachment by the House on Jan. 13.
McCarthy, who has walked back a number of recent comments surrounding his role in the deadly riot on the U.S. Capitol earlier this month, added that Cheney would have some explaining to do to defend her decision before House Republicans who appear to remain tied to a Trump-aligned ideology.
“She can have a difference of opinion, but the one thing if we’re going to lead within the conference, we should work together on that as a whole conference because we’re representative of that conference,” McCarthy said. “I do think she has a lot of questions she has to answer to the conference.”
The top House Republican suggested that the growing number of his colleagues who have called on Cheney to step down should be allowed a forum to raise questions, in a setting that would simultaneously allow Cheney to explain her actions.
“Let’s just have that discussion,” the California lawmaker said.
McCarthy’s comments calling for an explanation from Cheney come as he has refused to explain, let alone accept, responsibility for his own role in the Capitol riot.
McCarthy dodged acknowledging that the 2020 presidential election was free and fair when confronted by reporters on Thursday during a briefing where he also suggested Trump had not “provoked” the deadly Capitol insurrection after initially saying, days after the attack, that Trump bore “great responsibility” to intervene and quell the mob.
“Everybody across this country has some responsibility” for the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, he said in Sunday’s interview.