White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Tuesday took aim at House Republicans threatening to oust Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) as conference chair, and more broadly for using the Republican congresswoman as a scapegoat for “trying to figure out where they stand and what they stand for.”
When asked to respond to House Republicans’ attacks against the third-ranking Republican during a briefing on Tuesday, Psaki knocked the GOP for spending its time and energy ostracizing the most vocal critic of former President Trump in the caucus’ leadership.
“The Republican Party seems to be spending a lot of blood, sweat, and tears trying to figure out where they stand and what they stand for and that’s their prerogative,” Psaki said.
Psaki maintained that the Biden administration is focused on its response to the COVID-19 pandemic and rebuilding the economy, before adding that the President values “civility” even with lawmakers he disagrees with on many policies, like Cheney.
“It’s no secret that the President doesn’t see eye to eye on many policies with Congresswoman Cheney, but his view is that the American people elected him and also many people representing them in Congress to solve problems for them,” Psaki said. “And he’s going to continue to seek civility even when he disagrees.”
Psaki’s remarks follow days of some House Republicans warning that Cheney could face another vote that would boot her from her leadership role in the caucus.
Cheney, one of only 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump for “incitement of insurrection” following the deadly Capitol attack on Jan. 6, has become a target of GOP lawmakers who continue to bend to the will of the former president well after he’s left office.
Earlier Tuesday, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) reiterated his refusal to defend Cheney amid Republicans’ outrage in the aftermath of her vote to impeach Trump for “incitement of insurrection,” during an appearance on “Fox and Friends.”
Asked about some House Republicans signaling that Cheney’s position as conference chair is under threat, McCarthy denied that Cheney’s impeachment vote is what landed her in hot water with GOP lawmakers, but stopped short of coming out in support of the third-ranking Republican.
Right before his “Fox and Friends” interview, McCarthy fumed that he’s “lost confidence” in Cheney, according to a tape reviewed by Axios on Tuesday.
“I think she’s got real problems,” McCarthy told “Fox and Friends” host Steve Doocy in a hot mic moment before his interview on the program, according to Axios. “I’ve had it with … I’ve had it with her. You know, I’ve lost confidence. … Well, someone just has to bring a motion, but I assume that will probably take place.”
The White House’s response to Republicans’ attacks on Cheney speaks to a broader issue that the party has been criticized for in the wake of Trump’s Oval Office exit — the lack of a substantial policy agenda. Instead, GOPers in recent months have flung distractions at the wall to see what sticks, repeatedly waging culture wars and clinging to faux outrage over things like Mr. Potato Head, Dr. Seuss, an imagined red meat scandal, and just in the last 24-hours, Disneyland’s new Snow White ride.
Watch Psaki’s remarks below:
WH Press Sec. Jen Psaki on Republicans and Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY):
“The Republican Party seems to be spending a lot of blood, sweat, and tears trying to figure out where they stand and what they stand for.” pic.twitter.com/cESqXiyqEH
— The Recount (@therecount) May 4, 2021