The office of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has reinforced the ongoing feud between House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., And Republican House Conference Speaker Liz Cheney, R -Wyo., While the current divide could put a damper on Republican efforts to retake the House. next fall.
“Rumor has it that House GOP leaders are seeking to push Rep. Liz Cheney out of her post as Speaker of the House Republican Conference – their oldest woman in the GOP leadership – for a litany of very Republican reasons. : Not humble enough, she’s like a girlfriend looking for the wrong team, and more, ”Pelosi’s office said in a blog post on her website.
The comment comes as the rift between McCarthy and Cheney, the third-highest-ranking Republican in the House, appears to be reaching a boiling point after the Capitol riot.
Cheney has refused to back down on his criticism of former President Donald Trump, despite mounting pressure from other Republicans. She was the highest ranking Republican to vote to impeach Trump for her role in inciting the Jan.6 riot, and has disagreed with other members of the House GOP leadership for kissing Trump and maintained his electoral demands since then. She repeatedly and forcefully rejected Trump’s stolen election lie.
Cheney’s position puts her at odds with McCarthy, who has tried to keep his conference aligned with the former president. After initially blaming Trump for the riot – although he voted hours after the attack to block the count of some electoral votes for Biden – McCarthy worked to get back into the good graces of the former president , including visiting Trump at his Mar-a-Lago. club in Florida.
Speaking to “Fox and Friends” on Tuesday, McCarthy said “there is no concern about” Cheney’s impeachment vote by his fellow Republican House members.
“I’ve heard from members concerned about her ability to take over as conference chair, to get the message out. We all have to work together if we are able to win the majority,” McCarthy said, adding, ” I haven’t heard members worry about his impeachment vote, he’s more concerned with the ability to get the job done and what is our best step forward so that we can all work together instead of tackling them. each other. “
A spokesperson for Cheney, Jeremy Adler, said in a statement to NBC News following McCarthy’s remarks: “This is about whether the Republican Party is going to perpetuate lies about the 2020 election and attempt to whitewash what happened on January 6th. “
“Liz won’t do that,” Adler said. “That is the problem.”
Democrats currently have a slim 218-212 majority in the House on the GOP. As historical trends point against the ruling party in a new president’s first midterm term, Republicans are confident they can regain the majority without much boost.
The latest episode began on Monday after Cheney tweeted that anyone who said the 2020 presidential election was stolen was “poisoning our democratic system,” a direct response to a statement by Trump earlier today.
Cheney also warned Monday that the GOP should not “whitewash” the riot, telling a host of donors and academics in an informal interview with former House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis. At the American Enterprise Institute’s annual retreat: “We cannot accept the idea that the election is stolen.”
“It’s poison in the blood of our democracy,” Cheney said in remarks first reported by CNN. An aide familiar with the comments confirmed the accuracy of NBC News. “We cannot whitewash what happened on January 6 or perpetuate Trump’s big lie. It is a threat to democracy. What he did on January 6 is a line that cannot be crossed. “
As Cheney has emerged as Trump’s most powerful Republican critic in the House, a February attempt by Trump allies to strip her of her leadership position failed by an overwhelming majority, 145 to 61.
The imbalanced vote was taken by secret ballot, indicating broad private support for Cheney inside the conference, though many were reluctant to speak out publicly for fear of stoking Trump’s anger.
Kasie Hunt and Leigh Ann Caldwell contributed.