While House Republicans are sizing up candidates to fill the No. 3 leadership role, spurned conference chair Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., may be thinking of a White House run — if only to keep former President Donald Trump out of it.
GOP members were expected to meet behind closed doors Friday to elect a new conference chair, with New York Rep. Elise Stefanik the leading contender, though possibly not the only one.
"I'm very focused on making sure that our party becomes again a party that stands for truth and stands for fundamental principles that are conservative," Cheney told NBC's ''Today'' show — an interview she tweeted out Thursday.
''I won't let a former president or anybody else unravel the democracy," she added.
Cheney, the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney who has come under fire from some Republicans for calling out Trump, has flipped the narrative, framing her agenda as anti-Joe Biden.
"Our vision for the future has to be based on policy and substance, and to do that we must embrace the truth," she said in an introduction to the clip.
Cheney, who insisted she’s running for reelection in 2022, also took a swipe at Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., for "not leading with principle right now," calling his example "sad" and "dangerous."
"Leader McCarthy's visit to the former president, Mar-a-Lago, was really stunning given what the former president did," Cheney said. ''He provoked an attack on the Capitol — an attack on our democracy — and so I can't understand why you would want to go rehabilitate him."
Stefanik, who has embraced Trump’s message that the 2020 election was stolen from him — and also challenges the election results — remains the front-runner candidate to replace Cheney as conference chair.
But at least one GOP lawmaker appears to be weighing a challenge; ABC News reported that Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, declared Wednesday that ''this must be a contested race — not a coronation."
Any House Republican is allowed to enter the race, but Stefanik, already carrying Trump's support and the endorsement of GOP leadership, has told Capitol Hill reporters she's confident she has the votes needed to be elected conference chair, even if someone else jumps in, ABC News reported.
In her interview with NBC News, Cheney said she’d support a commission to look into the events leading up to the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, and suggested those in the GOP who don't support one may be hiding something.
"That kind of intense, narrow focus threatens people in my party who may have been playing a role they should not have been playing," she said.
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