Liz Cheney expected to be removed from Republican leadership role as party unites behind Trump

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·3 min read
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Ms Cheney serves as chair of the House Republican Conference, making her the third most important party figure in the House of Representative - J. Scott Applewhite/Ap
Ms Cheney serves as chair of the House Republican Conference, making her the third most important party figure in the House of Representative - J. Scott Applewhite/Ap

Liz Cheney is expected to be ousted from her senior position in the Republican leadership on Wednesday in a signal that the party is uniting aggressively behind Donald Trump.

Ms Cheney, 54, the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, has become a lightning rod for Republican division as she repeatedly criticised the former president.

She was one of only a handful of Republicans in Congress who voted to impeach Mr Trump in January, and believes the party is at a "turning point".

Last week, she called for Republicans to reject Mr Trump's "crusade to reverse the legal outcome of the election."

Ms Cheney serves as chair of the House Republican Conference, making her the third most important party figure in the House of Representatives. She is expected to be voted out and replaced by Elise Stefanik, 36, a congresswoman who has been enthusiastically endorsed by Mr Trump.

Ms Stefanik rose to national prominence when she offered an impassioned defence of Mr Trump during his first impeachment trial in 2019 -  Andrew Harnik/AP
Ms Stefanik rose to national prominence when she offered an impassioned defence of Mr Trump during his first impeachment trial in 2019 - Andrew Harnik/AP

In a letter to party colleagues Kevin McCarthy, the Republican leader in the House, said: "If we are to succeed in stopping the radical Democratic agenda from destroying our country these internal conflicts need to be resolved.

"It's clear that we need to make a change. Each day spent re-litigating the past is one day less we have to seize the future."

He told colleagues to anticipate a vote to recall Ms Cheney on Wednesday. Moderate Republicans in Congress objected to the move, arguing it would alienate independent voters as the party tries to recapture control of the House and Senate in midterm elections next year.

Mitt Romney, the Republican senator from Utah, said: "Expelling Liz Cheney from leadership won't gain one additional voter, but it will cost us quite a few."

Joni Ernst, the Republican senator from Iowa, said: "Cancel culture is cancel culture, no matter how you look at it.

"And unfortunately I think there are those that are trying to silence others in the party."

Ms Stefanik rose to national prominence when she offered an impassioned defence of Mr Trump during his first impeachment trial in 2019. At the time, Mr Trump said: "A star is born".

She calls Mr Trump "our president" rather than "former president" and has backed his claims about voting fraud.

Ahead of the vote on Ms Cheney, Mr Trump said: "She [Ms Stefanik] knows how to win, which is what we need!"

Ms Stefanik was first elected to represent New York in 2014 as a moderate Republican.

She avoided even saying Mr Trump's name publicly during the 2016 campaign, before later backing him.

Some Republicans have expressed doubts, and pointed out her voting record is much less conservative than Ms Cheney's. One fellow Republican congressman called it "atrocious".

Meanwhile, Larry Hogan, the Republican governor of Maryland, said the party had become a "circular firing squad".

He said: "You have to swear fealty to the dear leader or you get kicked out of the party."