Liz Cheney could face a mutiny within Congress and in her home state of Wyoming

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Grace Panetta
·5 min read
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Liz Cheney
Republican Conference Chair Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., speaks during a news conference with other House Republican leadership in Washington on Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2020 Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images
  • House GOP caucus chair Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) could be facing a mutiny within her party.

  • Cheney roiled members of her caucus when she voted to impeach Trump.

  • She's set to face at least one primary challenger.

  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

House Republican Conference chairwoman Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the third-highest ranking Republican in the House, could be facing a career-threatening mutiny both within her own caucus and in her home state.

Cheney was the most powerful of the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach former President Donald Trump for inciting an insurrection on the US Capitol on January 6. The action triggered an immense backlash to her leadership and rising profile within the GOP.

The congresswoman not only voted to impeach Trump but announced she would do so in a scathing statement the day before the vote, giving members of her caucus cover to vote to impeach as well.

Read more: Democrats have these 7 last-minute Trump administration regulations in their sights to overturn now that they control the Senate

Cheney told Politico the day of the impeachment vote that she's "not going anywhere." But the outlet reported on Thursday that at least 107 House Republicans, over half of the 211-member caucus, now support replacing Cheney as House caucus chair.

Politico reported that conservative New York Republicans Rep. Elise Stefanik and Rep. Lee Zeldin, both of whom played leading roles in defending Trump during his first impeachment trial, had expressed interest in running to replace her.

But Cheney still has many high-profile defenders, and it's unlikely for her to be ousted altogether. As Politico explained on Friday: "The process of booting her at the start of her leadership term is actually somewhat complicated and a pretty high bar: two-thirds of the House GOP needs to agree to even take a vote on a resolution calling for her to step aside."

McCarthy, Scalise, Cheney
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., center, flanked by GOP Conference chair Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., left, and House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., right, speaks to reporters following their leadership elections for the 117th Congress, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2020. Scott J. Applewhite/AP

Trump's hold over the GOP could haunt Cheney's political prospects

Cheney is already facing a challenge on the home front. The local Republican party in Carbon County, Wyoming, unanimously voted to censure Cheney for her impeachment vote. And State Senator Anthony Bouchard has filed paperwork and announced a campaign challenge to Cheney in the 2022 Republican primary for her at-large House seat.

Cheney emerged from a crowded open primary for the seat in 2016, and easily won all subsequent primary and general elections, slightly underperforming Trump at the top of the ticket in 2016 and 2020.

Twenty-two months out from the November 2022 midterm elections, it's unclear how much traction her primary challenger will gain, and whether Cheney's stand against Trump could end up costing her her congressional seat.

But her vote to impeach and the fact that Democrats will likely continue to cite her own words to prosecute the case against Trump certainly jeopardizes her career prospects as a leader of the GOP.

Read more: How to get a job working for a member of Congress

This isn't the first time Cheney had clashed with Trump or the caucus she leads over her breaking with the president.

Cheney had been on the receiving end of criticism from Trump over her hawkish stances on military and defense issues (Cheney had a career at the State Department under the Bush administration before running for Congress).

On the fateful morning of the January 6 insurrection, Trump took a shot at Cheney when speaking to the pro-Trump "Save America" rally crowd.

"And we got to get rid of the weak congresspeople, the ones that aren't any good, the Liz Cheneys of the world, we got to get rid of them. We got to get rid of them. She never wants a soldier brought home. I've brought a lot of our soldiers home," Trump said.

Matt Gaetz and Jim Jordan
Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, left, and Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, right, have been vocally critical of Cheney AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

Cheney has clashed with her caucus before

Back in July, Politico reported that at the first in-person Republican caucus meeting to take place in months, several of the most conservative members of the house, including Reps. Jim Jordan and Matt Gaetz, unloaded on Cheney for grievances ranging from her endorsement of a primary challenger to Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky to her public support of Dr. Anthony Fauci.

"Liz Cheney is only upset because I have been actively getting our great and beautiful Country out of the ridiculous and costly Endless Wars. I am also making our so-called allies pay tens of billions of dollars in delinquent military costs. They must, at least, treat us fairly!!!," Trump tweeted from his non-suspended Twitter account on July 20.

Read more: How the Senate could vote to bar Trump from ever holding federal office again and kill any chances of a 2024 run now that the House has impeached him

And both the congresswoman and her father, former Vice President Dick Cheney, took stands against Trump's efforts to subvert the election results in his last days in office, a notable crack in the GOP façade.

The elder Cheney organized a joint op-ed in the Washington Post signed by all 10 living former defense secretaries stating that the period for disputing election results had ended and reiterating that the military has no role to play in resolving election disputes or in the transfer of power.

"The time for questioning the results has passed; the time for the formal counting of the electoral college votes, as prescribed in the Constitution and statute, has arrived," the op-ed said.

Read the original article on Business Insider