Trump backs Rep. Elise Stefanik, who spread election lies, to replace Liz Cheney in House GOP leadership

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Elise stefanik GOP
Rep. Elise Stefanik and other top Republicans defend Donald Trump during his impeachment trial. Alex Wong/Getty Images
  • Donald Trump is backing Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York to chair the House Republican conference.

  • Stefanik, a fierce Trump supporter, is being considered to replace Liz Cheney in GOP leadership.

  • This move comes after Cheney has attacked Trump for spreading lies about the 2020 election.

  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Former President Donald Trump is backing one of his staunchest House supporters, New York Rep. Elise Stefanik, to replace his critic, Rep. Liz Cheney, in GOP leadership, Punchbowl News first reported Wednesday morning.

Stefanik is being considered to chair the House Republican conference, a leadership post that Cheney currently holds.

Stefanik made a name for herself as an aggressive Trump defender during the former president's first impeachment trial, after which Trump called her "a new Republican star." Stefanik also promoted lies about voter fraud and the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election and defended Trump following the January 6 Capitol riot.

Cheney, the third-highest ranking House Republican, was one of just 10 House Republicans to vote to impeach Trump for inciting the Capitol riot and has repeatedly publicly rejected the GOP's lies about the 2020 election results.

Cheney has accused Trump and his allies of "poisoning the Democratic system" by spreading the "big lie" that the 2020 election was "stolen" from Trump and "rigged" by Democrats. And she's said she wouldn't support Trump if he became the 2024 Republican presidential nominee.

The Wyoming Republican survived a February caucus vote to remove her from leadership, but the party is preparing to cast another vote to potentially oust her from her position as soon as next week, according to Punchbowl News.

Trump's endorsement for Stefanik comes after top Republican lawmakers have been openly distancing themselves from Cheney.

House Minority Whip Steve Scalise earlier Wednesday pledged his support for Stefanik's bid, per Punchbowl News. "House Republicans need to be solely focused on taking back the House in 2022 and fighting against Speaker Pelosi and President Biden's radical socialist agenda, and Elise Stefanik is strongly committed to doing that," a spokesperson for Scalise said in a statement to Punchbowl News.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy on Tuesday expressed that GOP lawmakers are frustrated with Cheney remaining in the top post. The Republican leader was also caught on a hot mic saying that he's "had it" with Cheney and that she's "got real problems."

This shake-up underscores how the party is clinging to Trump despite him leaving office and does not want to alienate Trump voters in the upcoming midterm elections next year.

With the party against her, Cheney has not been putting in the work to keep her job, which typically involves mustering up the necessary support ahead of a leadership vote, Politico reported on Wednesday. She has continued to publicly oppose Trump and push back on his false election rhetoric.

"The 2020 presidential election was not stolen," Cheney tweeted on Monday. "Anyone who claims it was is spreading THE BIG LIE."

Republican lawmakers have convinced a majority of their base that the 2020 election was fraudulent. Fifty-five percent of GOP voters believe Trump lost the 2020 election because of voter fraud and election rigging, according to a recent Reuters/Ipsos poll.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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