U.S. House Republicans took a quick party-line vote Wednesday morning (May 12) to remove Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the No. 3 candidate, as conference chairman.
Cheney was re-elected to a second term in February and was dismissed from the party in May, meaning this is the first time in recent congressional history that a Republican leader has been dismissed by a rank-and-file Republican while in office.
Cheney was one of the Republican members who publicly impeached former President Trump in January, despite opposition from Republican voters in his Wyoming district; at the time, most Republicans were opposed to a second Democrat-led impeachment.
On Wednesday morning, Cheney spoke first, then North Carolina Rep. Virginia Foxx moved to remove Cheney as conference chairman, followed by Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who spoke briefly and asked Republican House members to take a voice vote.
Rep. Ashley Hinson of Iowa told CNN that the vote was quick because members were eager to replace Cheney.
Members of the House were said to have booed Cheney when he first spoke.
Wednesday’s closed-door vote was a voice vote, meaning there would be no tally of lawmakers who voted yes or no. Inside sources said it was an overwhelming vote against Cheney.
A striking contrast to Cheney’s re-election to a leadership position in February, when she won big.
Republican lawmakers on why they dismissed Cheney
This point appears to be echoing the views of some Republicans. Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, the former head of the House Freedom Caucus, said Tuesday night (11), “The problem is you can’t have a Republican conference chair who keeps reciting Democratic talking points; you can’t have a Republican conference chair who takes a position that 90 percent of the party is against. “
In Cheney’s leadership position, she doesn’t just represent their district,” Indiana Rep. Jim Banks (R) told Fox News. They represent the 212 members of the Republican Conference. It’s clear that she doesn’t represent the views of the majority of our conference right now and the concerns that we all have about winning back the majority.”
After the vote, Virginia Rep. Ben Cline (R-Va.) told The Hill that Republicans are “very united” right now.
There were also allies of Cheney who defended her and warned that ousting Cheney would send a terrible message to voters that the Republican Party favors Trump.
Cheney himself spoke after the vote, saying, “I will do everything in my power to make sure that former President Trump never comes near the Oval Office again.”
Less than 30 minutes before the Republican rally, Trump issued a statement criticizing Cheney saying, “House Republicans have a great opportunity today to get rid of a bad leader, a big talker of Democratic talking points, a warmonger, and a man with absolutely no character or heart.”
Who will replace Cheney
Next the Republicans will decide who will fill Cheney’s spot as the No. 3 Republican in the House.
Two Republican members of the House Freedom Caucus told CNN they will speak briefly with Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Stefanik, who is currently the most vocal candidate, is a big Trump supporter.
But House conservatives argue that the push for a successor is moving too fast and that more needs to be learned about Stefanik’s key positions and ability to represent the 212 members of the House. They question that Stefanik had voted against the 2017 tax cut bill, Trump’s signature legislative achievement.