House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy officially endorsed Representative Elise Stefanik to replace Representative Liz Cheney as the number three Republican in the House.
McCarthy revealed his support for Stefanik during an interview with Fox News host Maria Bartiromo.
Bartiromo asked if he backed Stefanik (R-NY), a vocal supporter of former President Donald Trump, to which he replied: “Yes, I do.”
McCarthy (R-CA) stressed unity in party messaging over Cheney’s desire to curry favor with the media in denouncing Trump.
“We need to be united, and that starts with leadership,” McCarthy said. “That’s why we will have a vote next week.”
House Republicans have scheduled a vote for Wednesday to remove Cheney (R-WY) from leadership.
Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) will call for the vote to have her ousted.
It will be the second time Cheney has faced such a vote, prevailing over an effort in February by conservative members of the party to have her removed by a vote of 145-61.
Rather than move on from that effort, Cheney has refused to unite a party that includes Trump supporters.
Instead, she has accused them of believing “the big lie” that the 2020 presidential election was stolen, has gone after colleagues in her own party who support Trump, and vowed to campaign on impeaching the former President “every day of the week.”
In an op-ed for the Washington Post on Wednesday, Cheney encouraged Republicans to not embrace Trump’s “cult of personality.”
“Trump is seeking to unravel critical elements of our constitutional structure that make democracy work — confidence in the result of elections and the rule of law,” she added.
McCarthy’s endorsement of Stefanik comes after the second-ranking House Republican leader, Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA), voiced his support.
“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,” a statement from a Scalise spokesman reads.
“Elise Stefanik is strongly committed to doing that, which is why Whip Scalise has pledged to support her for Conference Chair.”
Stefanik has a more liberal voting record than Cheney, according to a Fox News analysis.
“According to a tool on the FiveThirtyEight website on ‘Tracking Congress In The Age Of Trump,’ Cheney voted with Trump 92.9% of the time compared to 77.7% for Stefanik.”
That could be more a function of having to represent a district in liberal New York.
That said, Stefanik has been a vocal supporter of Trump throughout his administration and was also key in recruiting more GOP women to run in 2020.
In other words, she’s putting the party’s goals and success above all else.
It doesn’t hurt to have Trump’s endorsement to replace Liz Cheney either.
The former President offered his “complete and total endorsement for GOP Conference Chair,” adding that she is “a tough and smart communicator.”
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