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Cheney says McCarthy is 'not leading with principle'

·Senior Writer
·2 min read
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Shortly after House Republicans voted to remove her from her leadership role, Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., criticized House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy for embracing former President Donald Trump's false claim that the 2020 presidential election was stolen.

"He is not leading with principle right now," Cheney told NBC's Savannah Guthrie in an interview that aired Thursday on the "Today" show. "And I think that it is sad, and I think it’s dangerous."

The interview was conducted after House Republicans met behind closed doors Wednesday and stripped Cheney from her position as the House Republican Conference chair, the No. 3 spot in the House GOP behind McCarthy and Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., the House minority whip. Republicans are expected to replace Cheney with Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y.

Cheney has been sharply critical of her colleagues for echoing Trump’s election falsehoods. She was also one of 10 GOP members of the House who voted to impeach Trump for inciting the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

She said Trump's promotion of the "big lie" about the election is "an ongoing threat," and that she would do "whatever it takes" to prevent him from becoming president again.

"He must not ever again be anywhere close to the Oval Office," Cheney said, adding: "This isn't about looking backwards, this is about the real-time, current potential damage that he's doing. That he continues to do."

Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., speaks to reporters at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday. (Photo by Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)
Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., speaks to reporters at the Capitol on Wednesday. (Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)

Trump, for his part, celebrated Cheney's ouster in a statement posted to his website.

"Liz Cheney is a bitter, horrible human being," he wrote. "I watched her yesterday and realized how bad she is for the Republican Party. She has no personality or anything good having to do with politics or our country."

"She is a warmonger whose family stupidly pushed us into the never-ending Middle East disaster, draining our wealth and depleting our great military, the worst decision in our country’s history," Trump added. "I look forward to soon watching her as a paid contributor on CNN or MSDNC!"

Despite Trump’s near-daily drumbeat of false statements denying the validity of the 2020 election, McCarthy has insisted that no one in the GOP is embracing the former president's election conspiracy theories.

"I don't think anyone is questioning the legitimacy of the presidential election," McCarthy said following a meeting with President Biden and fellow congressional leaders at the White House. "That is all over with."

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