House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy announced Monday that Republican members should prepare for a recall vote Wednesday to oust Republican Conference Chair Liz Cheney of Wyoming from leadership.
“Having heard from so many of you in recent days, it’s clear that we need to make a change,” McCarthy wrote in a letter to members. “As such, you should anticipate a vote on recalling the Conference Chair this Wednesday.”
Momentum grew to remove the Wyoming lawmaker from her number three role in House leadership after she survived her first referendum three months ago, then escalated her public feud with former President Donald Trump and continued to undermine the conference.
Since maintaining her chairmanship in February — provoked in large part by her futile crusade to recruit GOP members in support of Trump’s impeachment, in which nine took part — Cheney has smeared her own party as gripped with white supremacy and sought to engineer a GOP civil war non-existent outside Washington.
In his note to members, McCarthy, who was caught on a hot mic last week saying he’s “had it” with the incumbent chair, said Cheney had become a distraction from Republicans’ goal to reclaim the House majority in a favorable cycle next year. Republicans must only flip five seats next year in the first midterms of the Biden administration. The president’s party historically fares poorly in its first midterm.
“If we are to succeed in stopping the radical Democrat agenda from destroying our country, these internal conflicts need to be resolved so as to not detract from the efforts of our collective team,” McCarthy wrote. “All members are elected to represent their constituents as they see fit, but our leadership team cannot afford to be distracted from the important work we were elected to do and the shared goals we hope to achieve.”
At home, also, Cheney remains in hot water. A new poll out last week from the Club for Growth, a conservative political action committee with a focus on economic freedom, shows Cheney’s favorability ratings deep underwater among like Republican primary voters. More than half of them said they would not support their incumbent representative’s re-election no matter her opponent. Only 14 percent said Cheney could rely on their support.
>> 52% of GOP primary voters would vote against her regardless of who challenges her in '22
>> 14% would back her regardless
>> Her favorables are underwater at 29/65
WPAi poll of 415 LVs from April 21-22, +/-4.9% pic.twitter.com/fkIAoZcU5x
— Ally Mutnick (@allymutnick) May 5, 2021
In Washington, Cheney’s fight to retain her coveted position in leadership is a far steeper battle than in February, with members beginning to corral around New York Rep. Elise Stefanik as Cheney’s replacement, with Minority Whip Steve Scalise’s endorsement. The number two in House leadership from Louisiana previously backed Cheney in her first recall vote.
Trump has egged on the lower chamber revolt from retirement in Florida, endorsing Stefanik again on Monday as a “gifted communicator” to take Cheney’s chairmanship.
“The House GOP has a massive opportunity to upgrade this week,” Trump wrote in a statement.
While Stefanik’s voting record shows the New York congresswoman more moderate than her Wyoming rival, according to the American Conservative Union, Stefanik’s refusal to buy left-wing narratives peddled by corporate media stands in stark contrast to Cheney, who peddled the fake Russian bounties story of last summer, for which the GOP chairwoman never apologized.
Stefanik was an ardent defender of Trump during Democrats’ two extreme impeachments, and her prolific fundraising and candidate recruitment efforts in last year’s cycle further distinguishes her from Cheney’s lackluster performance in the 2020 House campaigns.