House Republicans on Wednesday morning voted to boot Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney from leadership after the foreign policy hawk and outspoken critic of former President Donald Trump ran afoul of a majority of the party she’d chaired since 2018.
Cheney remained defiant after the vote to remove her from her key leadership role as House Republican Conference chairwoman — a move that does not remove her from office or oust her from the GOP.
Cheney, the oldest daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, was the highest-ranking Republican female in Congress.
The frontrunner to replace Cheney, who was first elected to the lower chamber in 2016, is New York Rep. Elise Stefanik, though that vote is slated for Friday.
Trump quickly slammed Cheney in a statement posted to his website. calling her a "bitter, horrible human being" and cheering her ouster.
Cheney, after the vote, said she remains "absolutely committed" to the idea that Republicans "must go forward, based on truth" and that she'll do "everything I can" to ensure that Trump "never again gets anywhere near the Oval Office."
The vote to remove Cheney took place by a voice vote ballot during a brief closed-door meeting. She was also defiant before the vote, reports The New York Times, quoting a person familiar with the private comments, and warned the conference that Republicans were going down a path that would bring their “destruction,” and “possibly the destruction of our country."
Cheney also said if the party wants a person who will “enable and spread (Trump's) destructive lies,” they should vote for her removal.
Two people present at the vote said her speech was greeted with boos, and the voice vote was held after House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said the vote should be held by voice to show the party's unity.
"We cannot both embrace the big lie and embrace the Constitution," she said outside the Capitol Hill auditorium just after the vote concluded. "Going forward, the nation needs it. The nation needs a strong Republican Party. The nation needs a party that is based upon fundamental principles of conservatism. I'm committed and dedicated to ensuring that that's how this party goes forward. And I plan to lead the fight to do that."
"We have seen the danger that he continues to provoke with his language," Cheney said. "We have seen the danger that he continues to provoke with his language. We have seen his lack of commitment and dedication to the Constitution. And I think it's very important that we make sure whomever we elect is somebody who will be faithful to the Constitution.
In his statement, Trump said he watched Cheney on Tuesday and "realized how bad she is for the Republican Party."
"She has no personality or anything good having to do with politics or our Country," he said. "She is a talking point for Democrats, whether that means the Border, the gas lines, inflation, or destroying our economy. She is a warmonger whose family stupidly pushed us into the never-ending Middle East Disaster, draining our wealth and depleting our Great Military, the worst decision in our Country’s history. I look forward to soon watching her as a Paid Contributor on CNN or MSDNC!"
Cheney also insisted Wednesday that she does not feel betrayed by the vote, but she does believe it is an "indication of where the Republican Party is."
"I think that the party is in a place that we've got to bring it back from," she said. "We've got to get back to a position where we are a party that can fight for conservative principles, that can fight for substance. We cannot be dragged backward by the very dangerous lies of a former president."
Stefanik, Cheney's possible replacement, issued a statement after the vote that her goals include presenting a "disciplined, unified message" from the party's House leadership team on key issues important to voters; a communications poster "on offense" every day; and a plan to allow all members to "shine."
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