May 24, 2022

Rep. Kevin McCarthy talks political fate of Cheney, Kinzinger amid start of GOP retreat

Though many in his party have called for rogue Reps. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) and Liz Cheney (R-WY) to be booted from the Republican conference, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) recently explained why he had not taken such action, opting to focus instead on aiding those working to take their places in Congress, as the Daily Caller reports.

Speaking to the outlet in an exclusive interview, McCarthy declared that the unpopular pair would not be in attendance for the party’s three-day annual retreat taking place this week in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. In addition to noting that Kinzinger is not seeking re-election in the fall, he stated his belief that by supporting Cheney’s primary opponent, Harriet Hageman, he stands a good chance of helping oust someone he feels is an ineffective representative of the constituency she was elected to serve.

A key way McCarthy and over 100 of his Republican House colleagues are assisting Hageman, according to The Hill, is by hosting a fundraiser for her on March 30 at the home of high-profile GOP fundraiser Jeff Miller, according to The Hill.

“I support Harriet in Wyoming. You’re going to find there’s going to be an event for Harriet next week… . There’s more than 100 members that are co-sponsoring that,” explained McCarthy.

Articulating the rationale behind his opposition to Cheney’s re-election bid, McCarthy added, “Part of the reason why Liz isn’t doing her work for Wyoming. She’s not on [the House Committee on Natural Resources]. She gave that up. That’s the number one committee for Wyoming.”

Underscoring his decision last May to spearhead Cheney’s removal as GOP conference chair, McCarthy added, “We get to decide whether you’re going to be in leadership or not. Liz Cheney was not doing the role as conference chair. That’s why she was removed,” though her ongoing vocal criticism of former President Donald Trump did not help.

“You want to defeat them in their election. Adam’s not running again. Liz I don’t believe is focusing on Wyoming. I don’t know of another leader who’s endorsed in a process like this before, and I think that’s where you solve the problem,” said McCarthy.

Members of the House Freedom Caucus last year called for Cheney and Kinzinger to be removed from the GOP conference over their decision to accept roles on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s Jan. 6 committee, with Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) describing them as “a cancer to our party and to our caucus,” but McCarthy did not grant that request.

Great frustration undoubtedly remains among countless conservatives about the behavior of Kinzinger and Cheney amid the rancorous fallout from the 2020 election, and whether McCarthy’s strategy of waiting out the former and working to unseat the latter is ultimately the right one, only time will tell.

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