Liz Cheney Is Voted Out of Republican Leadership Over Her Focus on Trump's Election Lies

After her ouster on Wednesday, Cheney told reporters she would "do everything I can to ensure that the former president never again gets anywhere near the Oval Office"

Liz Cheney
Liz Cheney. Photo: Tom Williams/getty

Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney on Wednesday morning was voted out of her position in Republican leadership after her continued criticisms of Donald Trump's election lies and mounting backlash from her colleagues that she would not, in their words, let the issue go.

Speaking with reporters immediately after her ouster as the House of Representatives' No. 3 Republican — which was reportedly done in a closed-door meeting, by voice vote — Cheney said she did not feel betrayed by the move, which had been telegraphed for days.

But, she said, she would not waver in her commitment to separating the GOP from Trump.

"We must go forward based on truth, we cannot both embrace the 'big lie' [about the election] and embrace the Constitution," she said, "and, going forward, the nation needs it. The nation needs a strong Republican Party, the nation needs a party that is based upon fundamental principles of conservatism. And I am committed and dedicated to ensuring that that's how this party goes forward and I plan to lead the fight to do that."

She again said Trump posed a danger to the nation, in light of his refusal to accept his defeat in November — which spurred on the mob that attacked the U.S. Capitol in January.

"We have seen the danger that he continues to provoke with his language," Cheney told reporters on Wednesday. "We have seen his lack of commitment and dedication not the Constitution and I think it's very important that we make sure whomever we elect is somebody who will be faithful to the Constitution."

Formerly the highest-ranking Republican woman in Congress and the chair of the House Republican Conference, 54-year-old Cheney has become one of the loudest voices in the anti-Trump wing of the GOP.

Following the deadly Jan. 6 rioting at the Capitol, Cheney (who is the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney) announced that she would vote in favor of impeaching Trump on one count of "incitement of insurrection."

"Much more will become clear in coming days and weeks, but what we know now is enough," she said in a statement. "The President of the United States summoned this mob, assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack. Everything that followed was his doing. None of this would have happened without the President."

"The President could have immediately and forcefully intervened to stop the violence. He did not. There has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution," she continued. "I will vote to impeach the President."

Following that vote, Cheney has continued to voice her opposition to Trump and those who support his claims of election fraud.

Liz Cheney
Liz Cheney. Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty

After being censured by her home state's GOP following her vote to impeach, Cheney said she would not step down from her leadership role in the Republican Party, despite calls from some fellow conservatives that she do so.

"I think people all across Wyoming understand and recognize that our most important duty is to the Constitution. And as I've explained and will continue to explain to supporters all across the state and voters all across the state, the oath that I took to the Constitution compelled me to vote for impeachment and it doesn't bend to partisanship. It doesn't bend to political pressure," Cheney told host Chris Wallace in an appearance on Fox News Sunday following the censure vote. "It's the most important oath that we take."

And while Cheney survived a previous vote to remove her from leadership, the party's House caucus said they soured on her over her continued comments about Trump's election lies and her criticism of a figure who remains robustly popular with the Republican base.

Even some who voted against her censure ultimately changed their mind.

Wyoming Rep. Mike Gallagher, for instance, backed Cheney remaining as conference chair in the February vote but flip-flopped earlier this month, issuing a statement on Tuesday in which he said she could "no longer unify" the conference.

"House Democrats under Speaker Pelosi have been ruthless in advancing their radical progressive agenda, and Rep. Cheney can no longer unify the House Republican conference in opposition to that agenda," Gallagher said. "We need to take back the House in 2022 and permanently retire Pelosi."

In a May 1 interview with The Hill, one Republican strongly hinted that many in the party believed Cheney should "resign" or face even more criticism from within the GOP.

Days later, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy was caught on a hot mic saying he had "lost confidence" in Cheney.

"I think she's got real problems," McCarthy told anchor Steve Doocy off-air ahead of an interview on Fox and Friends, according to Axios, which reviewed the tape. "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."

In response to McCarthy's comments, Cheney's spokesperson told Axios the real issue was "whether the Republican Party is going to perpetuate lies about the 2020 election and attempt to whitewash what happened on Jan. 6."

Cheney has had some Republican defenders, including The View's Meghan McCain and Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst.

"Cancel culture is cancel culture no matter how you look at it," Ernst told reporters Monday. "Unfortunately," she said, "I think there are those that are trying to silence others in the party."

On Sunday, McCarthy said he supported Rep. Elise Stefanik in her bid to replace Cheney — a move echoed by both No. 2 House Republican Steve Scalise and Trump himself — though others, defending Cheney, said Stefanik had a less conservative record overall.

"House Republicans need to be solely focused on taking back the House in 2022 and fighting against Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi and President [Joe] Biden's radical socialist agenda, and Elise Stefanik is strongly committed to doing that, which is why Whip Scalise has pledged to support her for Conference Chair," a spokesperson for Scalise told USA Today in a statement.

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