House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy was caught on a hot mic Tuesday saying he’s lost confidence in Liz Cheney and, in public remarks, gave his biggest signal yet that her days in the party’s leadership are numbered.
McCarthy raised questions about Cheney’s ability to carry out her duties as GOP conference chair and told Fox News he’s heard from fellow GOP lawmakers they are worried she can’t carry out the party’s message.
He indicated that could hurt Republican efforts to retake control of the House in next year’s midterm election.
‘I have heard from members concerned about her ability to carry out the job as conference chair – to carry out the message. We all need to be working as one if we’re able to win the majority. Remember, majorities are not given; they are earned. And that’s about the message about going forward,’ he said on ‘Fox & Friends.’
But, off camera, McCarthy was even more candid about the Republican congresswoman from Wyoming.
Ahead of his interview, he was heard, on a hot mic, telling ‘Fox & Friends’ co-host Steve Doocy he’s lost confidence in Cheney, Axios reported.
‘I think she’s got real problems,’ McCarthy said. ‘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.’
For Cheney to be removed from leadership, a GOP lawmaker would have to make a motion to do so that would be voted on by the Republican House members. Cheney survived a secret ballot vote to remove her from leadership earlier this year but the criticism against her has escalated in the past few weeks.
House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy gave his biggest signal yet on Tuesday that Liz Cheney’s days in the party’s leadership are numbered
The fight over Rep. Liz Cheney is part of the wider battle over the role of former President Trump in the Republican Party
Cheney’s spokesperson shot back, calling on Republicans to speak up against Donald Trump’s falsehoods.
‘This is about whether the Republican Party is going to perpetuate lies about the 2020 election and attempt to whitewash what happened on Jan 6. Liz will not do that. That is the issue,’ said Jeremy Alder.
But McCarthy claimed the internecine battle had nothing to do with Cheney being one of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump after the January 6th MAGA riot.
‘I haven’t heard members concerned about her vote on impeachment. It’s more concern about the job ability to do and what’s our best step forward that we could all work together instead of attacking one another,’ he said on ‘Fox & Friends,’ which is Trump’s favorite morning show. The former president is a regular viewer.
In February, Cheney – the No. 3 Republican in the House – survived a leadership vote 145-61 on a secret ballot. The vote was called for by Trump allies in the GOP after her impeachment vote.
McCarthy, who wants to speaker, has been clear his focus is on the 2022 election and winning back control of the House.
He listed his priorities to talk about in next year’s midterms.
‘Combating Joe Biden and what he’s done to this border by making it unsecure and what’s coming across. Just what he’s doing here about small businesses, not opening schools, not getting us back to work, back to health, back to normal. That’s the message we should be talking about,’ he said on Fox News.
The fight over Cheney is part of the wider battle over the role of former President Trump in the Republican Party. She has emerged as one of his fiery critics and has repeatedly challenged his false assertion he won the 2020 presidential election – one of the few Republicans to call him out on it.
Trump, in turn, has given as good as he got, attacking Cheney himself through statements and using surrogates and his son, Donald Trump Jr., to attack her on social media.
But the former president still has a strong and vocal base of MAGA supporters who are expected to be active in next year’s primary and general election.
And some Republicans are worried that fight will be a distraction that could hurt the party.
Former President Donald Trump still has a large base of supporters who are expected to be active in next year’s primary and general elections
Other Republicans, however, want to move away from Trump’s fiery rhetoric and controversial stands.
Several Republicans said Trump should have done more to rein in his supporters who stormed the Capitol on January 6th, leaving five dead and a trail of destruction in their wake.
McCarthy even called him out on the House floor the day, saying Trump bears responsibility for the riot. Trump was impeached for his role but acquitted in the Senate. After that acquittal, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said the former president was ‘practically and morally responsible’ for the events.
Trump erupted in fury. McCarthy flew down to Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s residence in Palm Beach, to make peace. McConnell and Trump remain at odds.
McCarthy, who will be speaker if the party can flip five seats in 2022, said Trump remains a force in the GOP that must be considered.
‘He could change the whole course of history,’ McCarthy told The New York Times. ‘This is the tightest tightrope anyone has to walk.’
McCarthy isn’t looking for a GOP Civil War in the House while he tries to become speaker.
With Cheney and Trump at each other’s throats, he and his allies are making it clear she needs to go.
In order to remove her, Republicans in the House would have to vote on it.
‘There is no way that Liz will be conference chair by month’s end,’ one key McCarthy ally told The Hill newspaper on Monday. ‘When there is a vote, it won’t be a long conference; it will be fast. Everyone knows the outcome.’
McCarthy’s allies made it clear their focus is on winning back the House.
‘This is a broad range of lawmakers who have had it with her,’ a second McCarthy ally said. ‘She’s a liability, and McCarthy’s as fed up as the rest of us that she is focused on the past rather than winning back the House.’
Meanwhile, most of the members of the GOP Conference recognize they can’t replace Cheney in leadership with a man.
So the names floating around are Reps. Elise Stefanik of New York, Ann Wagner of Missouri, and Jackie Walorski of Indiana, Axios reports.
Rep. Liz Cheney slammed former President Donald Trump in a Monday morning tweet, standing her ground as the highest-ranking anti-Trump Republican in Congress
Cheney knocked Trump for continuing to spread election falsehoods, writing that he and others pushing the ‘BIG LIE’ are ‘poisoning our democratic system’
On Monday, however, Trump tried to push that the big lie is ‘The Fraudulent President Election of 2020,’ instead of it referring to the falsehoods he’s said about the election being fraudulent
Later Monday, Trump released a statement hitting Cheney, suggesting she would lose her House seat next year
Cheney has stayed defiant. On Monday she slammed Trump for ‘poisoning our democratic system’ as he continued to falsely spout that the 2020 election was stolen from him.
Trump’s office sent out a statement saying: ‘The fraudulent presidential election of 2020 will be, from this day forth, known as the big lie!’
Cheney snapped back.
‘The 2020 presidential election was not stolen,’ she tweeted. ‘Anyone who claims it was is spreading THE BIG LIE, turning their back on the rule of law, and poisoning our democratic system.’
Trump then fought back with an emailed statement, as he remains banished from Twitter and Facebook.
‘Heartwarming to read new polls on big-shot warmonger Liz Cheney of the great State of Wyoming. She is so low that her only chance would be if vast numbers of people run against her which, hopefully, won’t happen,’ the ex-president said. ‘They never liked her much, but I say she’ll never run in a Wyoming election again!’