Infighting within the Republican party will come to a head this week, incited by the ghostly figure of former President Donald Trump at his Mar-a-Lago hideout in Florida.
House Republicans are preparing to oust Liz Cheney Wednesday from her position as the party’s number three leader in the House.
His impeachment would come as punishment for his public criticism of Trump regarding his role in inciting the Jan. 6 Capitol uprising and his “big lie” that last year’s presidential election was stolen from him.
Cheney was one of 10 Republicans who voted to impeach Trump for “inciting insurrection.”
Top Republicans took to the political talk show circuit Sunday to express their support or opposition to the Wyoming congresswoman. Critically, Kevin McCarthy, the House minority leader who has defended Cheney in the past, made his break official when he told Fox News that he was endorsing Cheney’s rival, Elise Stefanik, for the No. three.
“What we are talking about is a leadership position. As conference chair, you have one of the most critical jobs as a messenger to come, ”McCarthy told Maria Bartiromo on Sunday.
Jim Banks, a congressman from Indiana who chairs the largest Republican group in the House, tried to justify the action against Cheney on “party discipline” grounds.
“Republicans are almost completely united by a single mission to oppose the radicals, dangerous [Joe] Biden’s agenda: Any other leader who doesn’t focus on that needs to be replaced, ”he said.
Pressured by Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday, Banks couldn’t keep up appearances for long. When asked if he still questioned whether Biden won the presidential election “fairly,” Banks said he stood firm in his decision on January 6, oppose the certification of the electoral college votes in various states.
“I have serious concerns about how the elections were carried out, which is why I opposed it on January 6; I will never apologize for that, ”he said.
Stefanik, a representative from New York who is now the frontrunner to replace Cheney, has a paradoxically much more moderate voting record than the woman she would replace. Significantly, Stefanik has been preferred because he has agreed with Trump’s lies about the “stolen” election, despite officials calling it the safest in US history.
As Cheney’s fate comes to a head, the fallout from Trump’s false claim that the vote count was rigged against him continues to destabilize the Republican Party. Several states, including Texas, Georgia and Florida, have moved aggressively to restrict access to the polls in ways that will particularly impact communities of color, under the same discredited theory of “voter integrity.”
In Arizona, GOP leaders have brought in an auditing firm called Cyber Ninjas, which has no experience monitoring elections, to examine how the presidential vote was conducted in Maricopa County.
Part of the exercise involves checking whether 40,000 votes cast for Biden contain traces of bamboo – according to a conspiracy theory that would indicate that they were smuggled from Asia.
As Trump’s enduring grip on his supporters shakes the party, few people still publicly defend Cheney. Bill Cassidy, US Senator from Louisiana, told NBC News’ Meet the Press that “there is a whole group of people who agree with Liz Cheney… for us to win in 2022 and 2024, we need everyone. We need the ones who feel like Liz. “
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism