Donald Trump endorsed New York Representative Elise Stefanik on Wednesday to take over as GOP Conference Chair as top members of the party continue to turn on Liz Cheney for speaking out against the former president.
‘Liz Cheney is a warmongering fool who has no business in Republican Party Leadership,’ Trump wrote in a statement from his Save America political action committee. ‘We want leaders who believe in the Make America Great Again movement, and prioritize the values of America First.’
‘Elise Stefanik is a far superior choice, and she has my COMPLETE and TOTAL Endorsement for GOP Conference Chair. Elise is a tough and smart communicator! ‘ he wrote.
The statement was also posted to the former president’s new webpage ‘From the Desk of Donald J. Trump,’ where he posts all of his statements in a Twitter feed-like manner.
Stefanik was one of Trump’s biggest defenders in his second impeachment trial and she voted to overturn the election results in the January 6 joint session to certify the outcome for Joe Biden.
The endorsement from Trump comes after top Republicans have made clear they prefer Stefanik take over as GOP Conference chair if they end up ousting Cheney.
House Whip Steve Scalise and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy are working to clear the field for Stefanik to sail to a leadership position.
McCarthy is also working behind the scenes to boost the 36-year-old’s chances of clinching the GOP’s third-highest leadership role in the lower chamber.
‘House Republicans need to be solely focused on taking back the House in 2022 and fighting against Speaker Pelosi and President Biden’s radical socialist agenda, and Elise Stefanik is strongly committed to doing that, which is why Whip Scalise has pledged to support her for Conference Chair,’ Scalise’s spokesperson Lauren Fine told Punchbowl News.
Donald Trump endorsed New York Representative Elise Stefanik to replace Liz Cheney as GOP Conference Chair as the party continues to turn against her for speaking out against Trump
The former president wrote in a statement Wednesday that Stefanik is the ‘far superior choice’ for Republican leadership than Cheney, who is critical of Trump and voted for his impeachment
Endorsement comes as House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (left) and House Republican Whip Steve Scalise (right) work to clear the field for Stefanik to replace Cheney
When asked Wednesday about the GOP efforts to oust Cheney from leadership, President Joe Biden said: ‘I don’t understand the Republicans.’
Cheney is being pushed out for speaking too frequently and publicly about Trump’s claim the 2020 presidential election was stolen and ‘rigged’ against him.
She also was the highest-ranking Republican to vote to impeach Trump for incitement of insurrection after the January 6, 2021 Capitol riot.
Cheney survived one attempt to oust her from leadership, with the help of McCarthy – but now even he has turned against her and there hasn’t been any real public effort by Cheney’s to hold onto the role.
McCarthy, a close ally of Stefanik’s, has expressed to colleagues – including possible challengers – his preference for Stefanik as he works to ensure her ascendance to the post.
Also helping her chances is the fact that Representative Jackie Walorski of Indiana, once seen as a potential opponent to Stefanki, has decided not to run for conference chair and instead is whipping for her New York colleague.
Another Indiana congressman, Republican Study Committee Chairman Jim Banks, also isn’t running.
Stefanik has served New York’s 21st congressional district since 2015. At the time of winning her 2014 election she was 20-years-old and the youngest woman serving in Congress.
New York Rep. Elise Stefanik (left) has emerged as the favorite to replace Liz Cheney (right) as GOP chairwoman as the party plans to meet next week – where Cheney will likely be ousted from her leadership role
A spokesperson for Scalise said he ‘has pledged to support [Stefanik] for Conference Chair’. Scalise is seen speaking to reporters with Cheney behind him following a meeting April, 20
After graduating from Harvard in 2006 with a degree in government, she joined George W. Bush’s administration and worked as staff to the Domestic Policy Council.
She also managed former Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan’s debate preparation during the 2012 presidential election, but following his primary loss to Senator Mitt Romney, she returned to upstate New York to join her parents’ business.
As a representative, Stefanik currently serves on the House Armed Services, Intelligence, and Educations and the Workforce Committees.
Hours after the January 6 Capitol attack this year, Stefanki was one of the GOP members who still voted to object to Pennsylvania’s electoral college results.
Many Republican have recognized that Cheney, if ousted, should be replaced with a woman – or at least not a white male like those who already fill the top two GOP posts in the House.
She has also not ruled out the potential of running for governor of New York – despite it’s statehouse being completely controlled by Democrats.
Since controversy surrounding current New York Governor Andrew Cuomo ramped up in the fall, Stefanik has repeatedly called him ‘the WORST governor in America’ on social media.
‘Congresswoman Stefanik continues to receive encouragement from all corners of the state as she would immediately be the strongest Republican candidate in both a primary and general gubernatorial election,’ Alex DeGrasse, a senior advisor to Stefanik, said in a statement last week.
‘She continues to set records as the most prolific New York Republican fundraiser ever in state history consistently earning the strongest performance at the ballot box cycle after cycle on Election Day,’ DeGrasse continued.
‘She appreciates the widespread encouragement and is not ruling anything out — nor will she make her decision based on others’ timetables.’
McCarthy was caught on a hot mic Tuesday saying he’s lost confidence in Wyoming Representative and current Republican Conference Chair Liz Cheney.
He also indicated in public remarks that her days in the party’s leadership are numbered.
The California congressman raised questions about Cheney’s ability to carry out her leadership duties and told Fox News he’s heard from fellow GOP lawmakers they are worried she can’t carry out the party’s message.
Ahead of his interview, he was heard, on a hot mic, telling Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy he’s lost confidence in Cheney, Axios reported.
‘I think she’s got real problems,’ McCarthy said. ‘I’ve had it with … I’ve had it with her. You know, I’ve lost confidence. … Well, someone just has to bring a motion, but I assume that will probably take place.’
McCarthy was caught on hot mic before a Fox News interview Tuesday claiming of Cheney: ‘I’ve had it with her’
He then said that members of his party were growing increasingly worried about roll and how it could hurt the future of the party.
‘I have heard from members concerned about her ability to carry out the job as conference chair – to carry out the message. We all need to be working as one if we’re able to win the majority. Remember, majorities are not given; they are earned. And that’s about the message about going forward,’ he said on ‘Fox & Friends.’
But, off camera, McCarthy was even more candid about the Republican congresswoman from Wyoming.
For Cheney to be removed from leadership, a GOP lawmaker would have to make a motion to do so that would be voted on by the Republican House members. Cheney survived a secret ballot vote to remove her from leadership earlier this year but the criticism against her has escalated in the past few weeks.
It’s now looking like the Republican Conference could move next week to boot Cheney from leadership as the hard-right House Freedom Caucus files a motion to remove her.
If adopted, the GOP leadership will be able to schedule the election to replace her.
Cheney’s spokesperson shot back, calling on Republicans to speak up against former President Donald Trump’s falsehoods.
‘This is about whether the Republican Party is going to perpetuate lies about the 2020 election and attempt to whitewash what happened on Jan 6. Liz will not do that. That is the issue,’ said Jeremy Alder.
But McCarthy claimed the internecine battle had nothing to do with Cheney being one of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump after the January 6th MAGA riot.
‘I haven’t heard members concerned about her vote on impeachment. It’s more concern about the job ability to do and what’s our best step forward that we could all work together instead of attacking one another,’ he said on ‘Fox & Friends,’ which is Trump’s favorite morning show. The former president is a regular viewer.
In February, Cheney – the No. 3 Republican in the House – survived a leadership vote 145-61 on a secret ballot. The vote was called for by Trump allies in the GOP after her impeachment vote.
Republican Senator Mitt Romney defended Cheney and said she ‘refuses to lie’ as calls to oust her from the party leadership grew
McCarthy, who wants to speaker, has been clear his focus is on the 2022 election and winning back control of the House.
He listed his priorities to talk about in next year’s midterms.
‘Combating Joe Biden and what he’s done to this border by making it unsecure and what’s coming across. Just what he’s doing here about small businesses, not opening schools, not getting us back to work, back to health, back to normal. That’s the message we should be talking about,’ he said on Fox News.
The fight over Cheney is part of the wider battle over the role of former President Trump in the Republican Party. She has emerged as one of his fiery critics and has repeatedly challenged his false assertion he won the 2020 presidential election – one of the few Republicans to call him out on it.
Trump, in turn, has given as good as he got, attacking Cheney himself through statements and using surrogates and his son, Donald Trump Jr., to attack her on social media.
But the former president still has a strong and vocal base of MAGA supporters who are expected to be active in next year’s primary and general election.
And some Republicans are worried that fight will be a distraction that could hurt the party.
Former President Donald Trump still has a large base of supporters who are expected to be active in next year’s primary and general elections
Other Republicans, however, want to move away from Trump’s fiery rhetoric and controversial stands.
Several Republicans said Trump should have done more to rein in his supporters who stormed the Capitol on January 6th, leaving five dead and a trail of destruction in their wake.
McCarthy even called him out on the House floor the day, saying Trump bears responsibility for the riot. Trump was impeached for his role but acquitted in the Senate. After that acquittal, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said the former president was ‘practically and morally responsible’ for the events.
Trump erupted in fury. McCarthy flew down to Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s residence in Palm Beach, to make peace. McConnell and Trump remain at odds.
McCarthy, who will be speaker if the party can flip five seats in 2022, said Trump remains a force in the GOP that must be considered.
‘He could change the whole course of history,’ McCarthy told The New York Times. ‘This is the tightest tightrope anyone has to walk.’
McCarthy isn’t looking for a GOP Civil War in the House while he tries to become speaker.
With Cheney and Trump at each other’s throats, he and his allies are making it clear she needs to go.
In order to remove her, Republicans in the House would have to vote on it.
‘There is no way that Liz will be conference chair by month’s end,’ one key McCarthy ally told The Hill newspaper on Monday. ‘When there is a vote, it won’t be a long conference; it will be fast. Everyone knows the outcome.’
McCarthy’s allies made it clear their focus is on winning back the House.
‘This is a broad range of lawmakers who have had it with her,’ a second McCarthy ally said. ‘She’s a liability, and McCarthy’s as fed up as the rest of us that she is focused on the past rather than winning back the House.’
Meanwhile, most of the members of the GOP Conference recognize they can’t replace Cheney in leadership with a man.
So the names floating around are Reps. Elise Stefanik of New York, Ann Wagner of Missouri, and Jackie Walorski of Indiana, Axios reports.
Stefanik has started calling Republican lawmakers to express her interest in the job should Cheney be shown the door, Politico reported.
Rep. Liz Cheney slammed former President Donald Trump in a Monday morning tweet, standing her ground as the highest-ranking anti-Trump Republican in Congress
Cheney knocked Trump for continuing to spread election falsehoods, writing that he and others pushing the ‘BIG LIE’ are ‘poisoning our democratic system’
On Monday, however, Trump tried to push that the big lie is ‘The Fraudulent President Election of 2020,’ instead of it referring to the falsehoods he’s said about the election being fraudulent
Later Monday, Trump released a statement hitting Cheney, suggesting she would lose her House seat next year
Cheney has stayed defiant. On Monday she slammed Trump for ‘poisoning our democratic system’ as he continued to falsely spout that the 2020 election was stolen from him.
Trump’s office sent out a statement saying: ‘The fraudulent presidential election of 2020 will be, from this day forth, known as the big lie!’
Cheney snapped back.
‘The 2020 presidential election was not stolen,’ she tweeted. ‘Anyone who claims it was is spreading THE BIG LIE, turning their back on the rule of law, and poisoning our democratic system.’
Trump then fought back with an emailed statement, as he remains banished from Twitter and Facebook.
‘Heartwarming to read new polls on big-shot warmonger Liz Cheney of the great State of Wyoming. She is so low that her only chance would be if vast numbers of people run against her which, hopefully, won’t happen,’ the ex-president said. ‘They never liked her much, but I say she’ll never run in a Wyoming election again!’