Amid an escalating internecine battle within the GOP, controversial Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) is on the verge of losing her post as Republican Conference Chair, and former President Donald Trump just named Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) as the lawmaker he believes would make the ideal successor, as Breitbart reports.
The tension between Cheney and GOP power brokers such as House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) has been building since last year, primarily due to Cheney’s ongoing criticism of Trump for questioning the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election results.
Earlier this week, Cheney made her disdain for the former commander in chief on this issue, saying, “The 2020 presidential election was not stolen. Anyone who claims it was is spreading THE BIG LIE, turning their back on the rule of law, and poisoning our democratic system,” as The Hill noted, referencing a recent Trump statement on the topic.
Trump’s full-throated endorsement of Stefanik for Cheney’s role came on Wednesday in the form of a new statement issued by his office which said, “Liz Cheney is a warmongering fool who has no business in the Republican Party Leadership. We want leaders who believe in the Make America Great Again movement, and prioritize the values of America First,” adding:
Elise Stefanik is a far superior choice, and she has my COMPLETE and TOTAL Endorsement for GOP Conference Chair. Elise as a tough and smart communicator!
In response, Stefanik publicly expressed her gratitude for Trump’s vote of confidence, saying, “Thank you President Trump for your 100% support for House GOP Conference Chair. We are unified and focused on FIRING PELOSI & WINNING in 2022!
According to Politico, McCarthy’s growing exasperation with Cheney was revealed an interview to Fox News in which he expressed frustration with some of her recent comments, saying that he has “heard from members concerned about her ability to carry out the job as conference chair to carry out the message,” adding:
We all need to be working as one if we’re able to win the majority. Remember majorities ar enot given They are earned. And that’s about the message about going forward, combating Joe Biden.
Axios also noted that McCarthy had been caught on a hot mic on Tuesday saying that when it comes to Cheney, saying, “I think she’s got real problems…I’ve had it with…I’ve had it with her. You know, I’ve lost confidence.”
It is in this environment that Stefanik has emerged as a top contender to step into Cheney’s leadership post, according to Fox News. House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) has already voiced his endorsement of the concept, with his spokesperson saying Wednesday,“House Republicans need to be solely focused on taking back the House in 2022…and Elise Stefanik is strongly committed to doing that, which is why Whip Scalise has pledged to support her for Conference Chair.”
The highly-visible nature of Trump’s involvement in this intra-party power struggle is rather telling in terms of the influence the former president intends to wield in shaping the future of the GOP, and time will tell whether he ramps up his participation even more in the months to come.