MCCARTHY MOVES QUICKLY TO OUST CHENEY — House Minority Leader KEVIN MCCARTHY made it all but official Tuesday, going on Fox News to declare that House Republicans have lost confidence in Rep. LIZ CHENEY, before getting caught on a hot mic moment saying, “I’ve had it with her.” As our Mel Zanona and Olivia Beavers write, McCarthy allies are already making calls on behalf of Rep. ELISE STEFANIK, seeking to lock down a replacement quickly to push Cheney out the door. (More on this in a minute.)
In their last-ditch effort to save Cheney, the Wyoming Republican’s allies have been framing her potential ouster as a litmus test for Republicans: Do they stand for truth or for lies?
McCarthy would push back on this narrative, of course, but at least one major conservative media outlet agrees: The WSJ editorial page writes that “purging Liz Cheney for honesty would diminish the party.” The newspaper also called out McCarthy for coordinating her takedown when he “knows Ms. Cheney is right. The election wasn’t stolen.”
“Republicans will look foolish, or worse, to swing voters if they refight 2020 in 2022 … Republicans should find a way to speak this truth to voters in 2022 — and quickly turn to running on an agenda for the future that will check [President JOE] BIDEN and his cradle-to-grave entitlement state.”
McCarthy has been arguing that Cheney’s rebukes of Trump are distracting from that very mission of taking back the House. But the reality is that her position in leadership means that he and other Republicans keep having to answer questions about Trump and Jan. 6 — the last topic they want to discuss.
KNOWING STEFANIK — The New York Republican known for her adamant defense of Trump during his first impeachment has quickly emerged as the frontrunner to replace Cheney — and is making calls to gauge support. The 36-year-old lawmaker has a relatively moderate voting record, scoring a mere 48% — an F, in case it wasn’t clear — on the conservative Heritage Action scorecard. But Stefanik somehow balanced voting with the center and still being among Trump’s most fervent House defenders, a rarity for moderates.
As Mel and Olivia report, Stefanik is known for her prolific fundraising ability. She is also almost singlehandedly responsible for recruiting the record number of women who now make up the GOP freshman class. She’s well liked in the conference, from members of the centrist Tuesday Group to Freedom Caucus leader JIM JORDAN, who had nice things to say about her on Fox on Tuesday.
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