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GOP leaders have turned on Liz Cheney and support replacing her with Trump backer Elise Stefanik

  • GOP congressional leaders are moving to oust Rep. Liz Cheney from her powerful role in Congress.
  • Cheney enraged many Republicans by criticizing former President Donald Trump. 
  • According to Punchbowl, House GOP leaders support moves to replace her with Rep. Elise Stefanik.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Republican leaders are moving to oust Rep. Liz Cheney from her role as House Republican Conference Chair, the third most powerful GOP role in Congress, political newsletter Punchbowl reported Wednesday.

According to the report, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Rep. Steve Scalise, the House minority whip, held meeting with colleagues to discuss replacing Cheney with Rep. Elise Stefanik.

Scalise on Wednesday issued a statement publicly supporting Stefanik.

Cheney is among the most adamant Republican critics of former President Donald Trump, and was one of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach the former president for his role in inciting the January Capitol riot. 

Stefanik, by contrast, is a Trump loyalist, who on the day after the violence at the Capitol voted against Joe Biden’s certification as president, citing Trump’s groundless conspiracy theory that the election was stolen from him by mass fraud. 

Under GOP rules there are two ways to trigger a vote to remove Cheney.

McCarthy could trigger such a contest himself. Alternatively, other GOP Reps. can start a petition to remove her, which will lead to a vote if 20% of the House GOP supports it.

Punchbowl said that some Republicans were seeking a female representative from the moderate wing of the party to put her name to the petition, which others could then support.

In the vote itself, a two-thirds majority among the 212-member caucus would be needed to oust her.

Evidence has been growing in recent days that the GOP’s congressional leadership had turned on Cheney. McCarthy in a hot-mic moment on Fox News remarked “I’ve had it with her” when asked his views on her future, reported Axios.

The moves to oust Cheney illustrates the power Trump loyalists still hold over the GOP in the wake of the Capitol riot. 

Critics of the former president, such as Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, have faced criticism and censure from state Republican parties and Trump loyalists in Congress. 

The former president has long teased that he is considering another run for the White House in 2024. His prospects are seen to partly hinge on whether Facebook decides to uphold its decision to ban him from the platform in the wake of the Capitol riot. 

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