House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) criticized Republicans seeking to oust Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) as Republican Conference Chair, calling the Wyoming lawmaker both “principled” and devoted to “truth.”
“I think Liz Cheney’s greatest offense apparently is she is principled and she believes in the truth,” Hoyer told the Washington Post’s Karen Tumulty on Wednesday.
“She’s obviously a very conservative Republican from the state of Wyoming, so it’s not a question of ideology,” Hoyer continued, contending it is a “question of cult.”
“It’s a question of cult of personality — that if you’re not 1,000 percent for Donald Trump, somehow you’re not a good Republican, you’re not worthy of being in the leadership,” he said.
“It is a shame that the party has fallen to the place where a Liz Cheney, as I said, principled, committed to the truth, and a conservative Republican, is somehow not accepted as a leader in the Republican Party,” he added.
Indeed, efforts have ramped up to remove Cheney as Republican Conference Chair in recent days, with House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) announcing his support of Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) as a replacement.
“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,” spokesperson Lauren Fine told to Punchbowl News.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) has also broken from Cheney in recent days, caught on a hot mic stating he “lost confidence” in the Republican Conference Chair.
“I think she’s got real problems,” McCarthy reportedly told Fox and Friends co-host Steve Doocy. “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.”
Meanwhile, Democrats and establishment Republicans continue to offer Cheney their support, particularly following Cheney’s Monday tweet in which she asserted that anyone who claims the 2020 presidential election was stolen is spreading “THE BIG LIE” and “poisoning our democratic system”:
The 2020 presidential election was not stolen. Anyone who claims it was is spreading THE BIG LIE, turning their back on the rule of law, and poisoning our democratic system.
— Liz Cheney (@Liz_Cheney) May 3, 2021
Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) has since offered his support, referring to Cheney as a “person of conscience”:
Every person of conscience draws a line beyond which they will not go: Liz Cheney refuses to lie. As one of my Republican Senate colleagues said to me following my impeachment vote: “I wouldn’t want to be a member of a group that punished someone for following their conscience.”
— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) May 4, 2021
Former President Trump has also blasted Cheney in recent days, effectively endorsing Stefanik to replace her.
“Liz Cheney is a warmongering fool who has no business in Republican Party Leadership,” he said in a Wednesday statement:
We want leaders who believe in the Make America Great Again movement, and prioritize the values of America First. Elise Stefanik is a far superior choice, and she has my COMPLETE and TOTAL endorsement for GOP Conference Chair. Elise is a tough and smart communicator!
According to reports, Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) is expected to introduce a resolution to expel Cheney from leadership:
SCOOP: The current plan is for Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) to introduce the resolution to expel Liz Cheney from leadership, @MZanona and I are hearing.
— Olivia Beavers (@Olivia_Beavers) May 5, 2021