WASHINGTON, D.C. — Top House Republican Kevin McCarthy publicly endorsed Rep. Elise Stefanik for the post of No. 3 leader, cementing party support of the Donald Trump loyalist over Rep. Liz Cheney, an outspoken critic of the former president.
House Republicans could vote as early as Wednesday to remove Cheney, the highest-ranking woman in the Republican leadership and daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, and replace her with Stefanik, whose ascension has received Trump’s backing.
Asked in an interview on Fox News Channel’s “Sunday Morning Futures” whether he supported Stefanik, R-N.Y., for the job of Republican Conference chair, McCarthy responded: “Yes, I do.”
“We want to be united in moving forward, and I think that is what will take place,” he said in response to a question about whether he had the votes to oust Cheney, R-Wyo.
McCarthy said the leadership post must focus on a message “day in and day out” on what he said were the problems of the Biden administration.
McCarthy on Sunday denied that Republicans’ effort to remove Cheney was based on her views of Trump or being one of 10 House Republicans to vote to impeach Trump over the Jan. 6 protest. He said she was distracting from Republicans’ bid to win back the House in 2022 and successfully oppose President Joe Biden’s agenda, goals that McCarthy believes will need Trump’s support.
McCarthy complained last week that he had “lost confidence” in Cheney and “had it with her” over her continuing remarks about Trump, according to a leaked recording of his exchange on “Fox and Friends.”
The second-ranking House Republican leader, Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, already has announced his support for Stefanik.