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GOP fractures exposed as Liz Cheney faces criticism

In the past week, Cheney has opened the door to running for president in 2024 and slammed his Senate colleagues who supported efforts to challenge the Jan.6 election results. Cheney also faced criticism after leaning in to greet President Joe Biden as he did his down the aisle during his speech at a joint session of Congress on Wednesday.
Cheney defended that decision on Twitter saying, “I totally disagree with @JoeBiden’s policies, but when the President reaches out to greet me in the chamber of the US House of Representatives, I will always respond in a civil, respectful and worthy. We are different political parties. We are not sworn enemies. We are Americans. “
But despite intra-party pressure in Washington and the main challengers lining up to take her to Wyoming, Cheney does not seem interested in shying away from her point of view, with an ally saying the MP firmly believes what is happening. passed on January 6 undermines democracy and the future. of the Republican Party.
Cheney, who openly disagreed with many in his caucus about Trump’s role in the 1/6 uprising, and who voted for his impeachment, again faces mounting pressure after the House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy was asked last week if Cheney was still a good choice for leadership. He declined to support him, saying instead that Cheney’s future would be determined by the caucus.

In interviews with CNN, two Republican lawmakers told CNN that Cheney’s comments this week again opened up old wounds within the GOP conference, forcing members to question again if she was the best person in the world. as a leader. As CNN has previously reported, there is no indication that anything will come of the frustration. The party is still more interested in moving on than focusing on trying to oust Cheney. But members who spoke to CNN on condition of speaking freely about the tensions said they believed Cheney was not speaking for the conference.

“It’s like, ‘hey, if you want the job, there’s a responsibility that goes with it,'” a GOP lawmaker told CNN. “It’s a tough time for elephants and so it’s a complication that comes from within, which frankly isn’t helpful in any way, shape or form.

The person added “you only got two letters and it’s just ME or US.”

In large part, Cheney’s comments this week were fueled by a series of interviews and questions she received about the events of January 6 and how McCarthy, a Californian Republican, played down the role of l former Trump in the attack, but his comments once again revealed tensions. within the GOP that is unlikely to go away given that Cheney is not going to back down on his view that for the Republican Party to be successful in 2024, it has to go beyond Trump.

Another GOP lawmaker told CNN the frustration was even more palpable this time around.

“It is real and much more widespread than before and entirely on its own initiative,” the lawmaker said. “At this point, it has nothing to do with his vote and everything to do with his words and actions.”

In February, Cheney overwhelmingly retained his leadership position in a 145-61 secret ballot vote – but GOP sources on the Hill tell CNN there is irritation and a lack of patience. ‘She continues to attack party members so publicly and continues to lead. one-on-one with McCarthy.
GOP fractures exposed as Liz Cheney faces criticism
Some members of the House Freedom Caucus, who still support Trump and led the effort against Cheney in February, see Cheney’s recent actions as a sign that they were right to question his leadership role. However, his open anger at Trump and his role in the riot echoes the position of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell that the party must emerge from the Trump era if it hopes to win back the House afterwards. and / or the Senate. year.

One of the problems facing the leaders is the question of who would replace her in third place.

Several sources tell CNN that GOP leaders feel they can’t replace her with a man. One person whose sources say she could fill the role is New York Rep. Elise Stefanik, but she is likely unwilling to step in as she is reportedly considering a race to challenge Democratic New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.

While there is no plan to try to oust Cheney from his leadership position in Washington, Cheney faces a backlash in Wyoming instigated by the former president, who won his state of the year. last with nearly 70% of the vote, the most of any state in the country.

After Cheney voted to impeach Trump, claiming he had “summoned”, “assembled” and “ignited the flame of this attack,” the Wyoming Republican Party censored her and said “there is has not had a time during our tenure where we saw this type of outcry from our fellow Republicans. State Senator Anthony Bouchard and State Representative Chuck Gray launched campaigns against her, and Political Operation Trump commissioned a poll claiming the impeachment vote had hurt her popularity in the state .

But Cheney, who was re-elected in 2020 with 69% of the vote, still has a substantial following in the state and raised $ 1.5 million in the first three months of the year.

Landon Brown, representative of the Wyoming government, predicted that Bouchard and Gray “will eventually split the vote between their faction of Republicans” and that Cheney will receive at least 40% of the vote.

“There’s way too much credit given to these two – she’s a juggernaut and an incredible ambassador for our state,” Brown said. “They’re just seeing through a different pair of glasses.”

Trump and his son Donald Trump Jr. have warned of this potential outcome. In March, Trump Jr. publicly pushed Wyoming to pass a bill creating a run-off election, which could have forced Cheney into a race against another Trump-backed candidate. But the bill died in the state Senate after a narrow 14-15 vote.

The former president then said in mid-April that he would back a 2022 candidate against her “soon”, saying that “the only way for her to win is with many candidates running against her and dividing the votes” .

“So many people are looking to run against Crazy Liz Cheney – but we only want one,” Trump said.

This story was updated with additional developments on Friday


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