Some House Republicans have suggested that Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) could be ousted as conference chair within a month as prominent members of the caucus fume over her unwillingness to bend to the enduring influence of former President Donald Trump.
Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN), Republican Study Committee Chair told Axios on Friday that Cheney’s comments during a GOP retreat in Orlando, Florida, earlier this week presented “an unwelcome distraction,” and he questioned whether she would still hold her spot as No. 3 House Republican in a month.
The criticism comes after the GOP erupted into outrage after Cheney suggested to reporters on Monday that the party’s elected leaders were in charge of the GOP — appearing to challenge those who continue to elevate Trump.
“I think right now, the Republican Party is headed by Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy in the House. I think our elected leaders, you know, are the ones who are in charge of the Republican Party,” Cheney said at the time.
House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) — who visited Trump at his Palm Beach resort earlier this year also appeared to push back — defending Trump’s key role in the party during an Axios interview on Friday.
“President Trump is still a very active part of our party and a vocal leader in our party,” Scalise said.
“So this idea that you just disregard President Trump is not where we are, and, frankly, he has a lot to offer still and has offered a lot,” he added.
Rep. Lance Gooden (R-TX) seemed to echo those sentiments in a tweet Saturday, suggesting that it was Cheney’s efforts to hold Trump accountable would be her ouster.
Liz Cheney has promised she will campaign on impeaching Trump 'every day of the week.'
Good luck with that, Liz!
PREDICTION: she’ll be out of her GOP leadership role by month’s end!
— Lance Gooden (@Lancegooden) May 1, 2021
Earlier this year, Cheney handily won over a Trump loyalist-led effort to remove her as House GOP conference chair after she became one of 10 House Republicans to back Trump’s impeachment over inciting the Jan. 6 Capitol attack.
But she since that secret ballot vote, Cheney has continued to push back on Trump’s influence in her party.
Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH), who also voted to impeach Trump, told the Hill in an interview Friday, that if lying to voters was a requirement for leadership he could see why Cheney wasn’t the best fit.
“Liz isn’t going to lie to people. Liz is going to say what she believes. She’s going to stand on principle,” he said. “And if that’s going to be distracting for folks, she’s not the best fit. I wish that weren’t the case.”
The No. 3 Republican had faced blowback for breaking with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) on Monday about the scope of a proposed commission to review the Jan. 6 Capitol attack, saying it was critical for the nation not to minimize the attack.
Cheney told Politico on Monday that addressing the attack head on, “matters hugely to the survival of the country.”
During the GOP retreat, Cheney further angered some of her colleagues who defended Trump’s false claims of a stolen election, when she told reporters that with regard to Republican candidates in 2024,“I do think that some of our candidates who led the charge, particularly the senators who led the unconstitutional charge, not to certify the election, you know, in my view that’s disqualifying.”