House Republicans elect Trump supporter Stefanik to replace Cheney in leadership

House Republicans elect Trump supporter Stefanik to replace Cheney in leadership
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House GOP members elected Rep. Elise Stefanik to replace Rep. Liz Cheney as the No. 3 House Republican during a party conference Friday.

PHOTO: Rep. Elise Stefanik arrives as House GOP members hold an election for a new chair of the House Republican Conference to replace Rep. Liz Cheney, at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., May 14, 2021. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)
PHOTO: Rep. Elise Stefanik arrives as House GOP members hold an election for a new chair of the House Republican Conference to replace Rep. Liz Cheney, at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., May 14, 2021. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

The final vote count in the secret ballot was 134-46.

Her opponent, Freedom Caucus conservative Rep. Chip Roy of Texas, received 46 votes.

At a news conference afterward, Stefanik, from New York, said she wanted to thank President Donald Trump for his support and said the American people are "suffering" from what she called the "socialist, radical" policies of President Joe Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

"He is a critical part of our Republican team," Stefanik said about Trump.

Within minutes, Trump released a statement praising her.

"Congratulations to Elise Stefanik for her Big and Overwhelming victory! The House GOP is united and the Make America Great Again movement is Strong!" Trump said.

PHOTO: Rep. Elise Stefanik speaks to reporters after House Republicans voted for her as their conference chairperson at the US Capitol in Washington on May 14, 2021. (Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)
PHOTO: Rep. Elise Stefanik speaks to reporters after House Republicans voted for her as their conference chairperson at the US Capitol in Washington on May 14, 2021. (Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)

Asked by reporters whether she thought Trump was the leader of the party, Stefanik said he was the one Republicans "look to."

"I believe that voters determine the leader of the Republican Party and President Trump is the leader that they look to," Stefanik said. "I support President Trump, voters support President Trump, he is an important voice in our Republican Party, and we look forward to working with him."

Asked whether there was room in the House GOP for Cheney, who has vowed to keep Trump out of the Oval Office, calling him a danger to the party and democracy, Stefanik said she wanted unity with both her and Cheney supporter Rep. Adam Kinzinger.

"Liz Cheney is a part of this conference, Adam Kinzinger is a part of this conference," Stefanik said. "They were elected and sent here by the people in their district they are part of this Republican conference, we are unified in working with President Trump."

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Stefanik was elected behind closed doors this morning by a slew of GOP lawmakers representing the full breadth of the Republican spectrum. Moderate Rep. John Katko, R-N.Y., who vote to impeach Trump, freshman Rep. Ashley Hinson, R-Iowa, who Stefanik recruited and supported during her run for office, and Trump loyalist Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Pa.

MORE: House Republicans poised to remove Rep. Liz Cheney from leadership for Trump criticism

"Republicans have a strong agenda for this country… We as a conference have a very important story to tell," Hinson said in remarks obtained by ABC News. "Elise is the right person to unify us so that we can best tell it to the American people. Let’s unite behind Elise and unite behind a goal I know we all share—taking back the House in 2022."

MORE: Cheney won't rule out running for president to stop Trump

The 36-year-old New York Republican's only competition was Roy, a conservative who has essentially said he is running because he doesn’t like the idea of Stefanik running for leadership unopposed.

Walking into the GOP conference meeting Friday morning, Roy told reporters he didn't have a "whole lot of time to whip" for votes. Despite some questions about how conservative Stefanik is, Roy said if Stefanik was chosen to succeed Cheney, the conference will be united.

PHOTO: Rep. Chip Roy, center, arrives as the House Republican Conference meets to elect a new chairman to replace Rep. Liz Cheney, who was ousted from the GOP leadership, at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., May 14, 2021. (Andrew Harnik/AP)
PHOTO: Rep. Chip Roy, center, arrives as the House Republican Conference meets to elect a new chairman to replace Rep. Liz Cheney, who was ousted from the GOP leadership, at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., May 14, 2021. (Andrew Harnik/AP)

MORE: Kinzinger calls out GOP leadership for backing election 'lie' over Cheney

"I am always going to try to be a voice for advancing the policies that I think are right and to try to make sure that we're representing the people, but we'll all be united," Roy said. "It's pretty easy to unite against the radical agenda of the current administration. I mean, we're seeing it play out right now in terms of energy prices. gas lines, people who don't have jobs because we're paying people not to work. There's businesses they want to hire them. So, we're gonna be united doing that."

Some conservative House members including Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., and Rep. Laura Boebert, R-Colo., will back Roy, preferring his conservative record.

MORE: Rep. Elise Stefanik on path to GOP leadership after aligning with Trump

House Republicans voted to remove Cheney from leadership Wednesday after she repeatedly condemned him for provoking the Jan 6. violent assault on the Capitol by his supporters and for claiming he won the election.

PHOTO: Rep. Liz Cheney speaks to reporters after her removal as chair of the House Republican Conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., May 12, 2021. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)
PHOTO: Rep. Liz Cheney speaks to reporters after her removal as chair of the House Republican Conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., May 12, 2021. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

Cheney, despite being ousted from leadership, said she is "absolutely" running for reelection to the House in 2022, also said Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy "is not leading with principle right now," calling his example "sad" and "dangerous."

ABC News' Quinn Scanlan contributed to this report.

House Republicans elect Trump supporter Stefanik to replace Cheney in leadership originally appeared on abcnews.go.com