Former president Donald Trump on Wednesday endorsed Representative Elise Stefanik (R., N.Y.) to replace Representative Liz Cheney (R., Wy.) as chair of the House Republican Conference as party leadership has reportedly sought to oust the Wyoming congresswoman from her leadership role in recent days.
“Liz Cheney is a warmongering fool who has no business in Republican Party Leadership,” Trump said in a statement. “We want leaders who believe in the Make America Great Again movement, and prioritize the values of America First. Elise Stefanik is a far superior choice, and she has my COMPLETE and TOTAL Endorsement for GOP Conference Chair. Elise is a tough and smart communicator!”
Stefanik thanked Trump for his support in a tweet on Wednesday, adding, “We are unified and focused on FIRING PELOSI & WINNING in 2022!”
Stefanik has also received support from the top two Republicans in the House for her bid to replace Cheney, a longtime Trump critic.
A spokeswoman for House GOP Whip Steve Scalise (R., La.) said Wednesday that the No. 2 Republican in the House “has pledged to support [Stefanik] for conference chair.”
“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,” Scalise’s spokeswoman, Lauren Fine, said in a statement.
However, according to FiveThirtyEight, Cheney voted in line with Trump’s position during his tenure more often than Stefanik did. While Stefanik voted with Trump 77.7 percent of the time, Cheney did so 92.9 percent of the time. In 2019, Stefanik was one of just eight Republicans to support the Equality Act, sweeping legislation that would add sexual orientation and transgender status as protected classes under the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
Meanwhile, according to Punchbowl News, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.) is working with Scalise to support Stefanik for Conference Chair after having told Fox and Friends host Steve Doocy in off-air comments that he thinks Cheney has “got real problems.”
“I’ve had it with … I’ve had it with her. You know, I’ve lost confidence. … Well, someone just has to bring a motion, but I assume that will probably take place,” McCarthy said in a tape of the conversation, which was obtained by Axios on Tuesday.
The renewed push to remove Cheney, the third-ranking GOP lawmaker in the House, from her leadership post comes after she told the New York Post last week that while she believes Republicans could take back the presidency in 2024, she thinks lawmakers who supported Trump’s effort to overturn the 2020 election results should be disqualified from running.
Cheney has drawn the ire of her Republican colleagues repeatedly since she voted in favor of Trump’s second impeachment but previously survived a secret ballot the House GOP conference conducted in February over whether to keep her in her post. The conference voted 145–61 to keep Cheney in her leadership role at that time.
Recent comments from party leadership seem to suggest the House GOP could hold a second vote to oust Cheney in the near future.
“This is about whether the Republican Party is going to perpetuate lies about the 2020 election and attempt to whitewash what happened on January 6,” Cheney spokesman Jeremy Adler said on Tuesday. “Liz will not do that. That is the issue.”