Top Republicans are looking to oust Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) from her number three leadership position, according to an Axios report.
Members of the Republican leadership are mulling over outsing Cheney from her leadership position. One member suggested she could be ousted within a month, Axios reported. Cheney currently holds the number three spot in leadership as the House Republican Conference chair.
Reportedly, comments from Republicans in leadership have always held weight within the party. Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA), the minority whip, and Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN), chairman of the Republican Study Committee, have a close relationship with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA). Recently, McCarthy has been openly feuding with Cheney, according to reports.
In an interview Friday, Banks told Axios that the constant criticism from Cheney is “an unwelcome distraction.” Banks allegedly also questioned if Cheney should be able to retain her leadership spot within a month. Axios reported that Scalise repeated Banks’ comments. Scalise told Axios in a similar interview Friday, “This idea that you just disregard President Trump is not where we are, and, frankly, he has a lot to offer still,” he said regarding Cheney.
Last week, Axios reported that McCarthy told reporters, “If you’re sitting here at a retreat that’s focused on policy, focused on the future of making American [sic] next-century, and you’re talking about something else, you’re not being productive.”
In multiple interviews during the Republican conference retreat, Cheney told reporters anyone who tried to challenge the 2020 election “should be disqualified from a presidential campaign in 2024,” adding she would not rule out running in 2024. Cheney also told reporters that “a commission to examine the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection should be narrowly focused” instead of a wide-ranging probe which McCarthy favors.” The Republican also spoke about Banks’ recently released memo about the party looking to “retain working-class voters.” She called it “neo-Marxist,” reports indicate.
Additionally, during his interview, Banks said her comments were a distraction from the rest of the Republican leadership trying to unify the conference to beat the Democrats and regain a majority in the House in the 2022 midterms. Additionally, when talking about regaining the majority, Banks said, “That’s what we got out of Liz Cheney, which doesn’t help us remain focused on that single goal.”
He later added in his interview with Axios, “Her lack of focus on that, while being focused on other things, and proving her point, was an unwelcome distraction.” Banks said, “The sort of sideline distractions at the GOP retreat will only serve to hold us back from being focused on that nearly unanimous goal we have as a conference.”
Moreover, when Axios asked Banks about leaving Cheney in her current leadership role and letting her retain the position in a month, he reportedly said, “I don’t know.” The congressman said, “That’s up to her,” adding, “I think a lot of us would like to see her join the team, be on the same team, same mission, the same focus. And at this point, that’s what many of us are questioning.”
Banks told Axios he believes his “his view didn’t just go up the leadership ranks but down through the House GOP rank-and-file.” Banks’ Republican Study Committee has the largest members of any group, with 154 of the 212 Republicans currently in the House.
Furthermore, McCarthy and Cheney, according to Axios, “have been at odds publicly since she both voted in favor of Trump’s second impeachment and blamed him for the Jan. 6 assault.” After the riots on Capitol Hill initially, McCarthy blamed former President Donald Trump, later backing off after he spoke with Trump during a visit to Mar a Lago.
Axios reported in February that the Republican conference “held a secret ballot about whether to retain Cheney in her current role, and she won overwhelmingly, 145-61.”
“While Cheney says she also is committed to regaining Republican control of the House in 2022, she has noted Trump lost the White House in 2020, while the GOP also lost control of the Senate,” Axios said. A Cheney spokesperson declined to comment about Banks’ criticisms when Axios raised the issue.