“The conference needs to vote on this,” said Jim Jordan, Ohio, co-founder of the archconservative club, in the Capitol on Wednesday. We need to have a second vote. Cheney was simply unanimously re-elected to her position in November.
The resolution, received by POLITICO, states that Cheney’s position “does not reflect that of most of the Republican Conference and has led to a bad reputation and controversy.”
However, Cheney made it clear that he did not intend to leave voluntarily.
“That’s what we need to focus on,” she added. “That’s where our efforts and attention should be.”
Meanwhile, GOP spokesman John Katko of New York – who also voted for impeachment – began distributing a letter Wednesday expressing support for Cheney and rejecting calls for her resignation, according to a copy received from POLITICO.
The retreat from the party’s right wing underscores that support for Trump’s removal could still be a politically toxic move in the Republican Party, even after he incited a violent mob to storm the Capitol. In addition to condemning their colleagues, Republicans voting for impeachment could also face major challenges for pro-Trump.
Apart from Cheney and Katko, only eight other Republicans voted to impeach Trump: Representatives. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, Fred Upton of Michigan, Jaime Herrera Boitler of Washington, Dan Newhouse of Washington, David Valadao of California, Tom Rice of South Carolina, Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio, and Peter Meyer of Michigan.
Still, Cheney told colleagues he wanted to be on the right side of the story, and formulated it as a “voice of conscience” in private conversations, according to sources.
Cheney, the highest-ranking Republican to publicly support impeachment, issued a statement Tuesday explaining his support for Trump’s impeachment, saying he “called for this mob, gathered the mob and ignited the flames of this attack” against the Capitol. last week .
“There has never been a greater betrayal by the president of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution,” she said.
Cheney’s position pitted her directly against Minority House leader Kevin McCarthy (R-California) and Minority Whip’s Steve Scalis (R-La.) – both of whom oppose impeachment – and created a dramatic gap in GOP leadership.
Some of the GOP conference are disappointed with all its leaders.
“I think when Kevin and Steve supported the unconstitutional challenge before the election and when [Liz Cheney] supports constitutionally flawed impeachment, we have leadership problems, “spokesman Ken Buck (R-Colo.) told reporters.
McCarthy declined to answer reporters on Wednesday about whether he thought Cheney deserved to stay in charge. But a Republican MP who is not a member of the Freedom Association and does not want to see Cheney resign predicts that much of the GOP conference will support her rise from leadership.
However, Cheney’s allies expect her to remain safe, and also argue that it would be a bad idea for the CSO to punish Cheney, not Trump.
Other Republicans came to Cheney’s defense on Wednesday, including freshman tutor Nancy Mace. The South Carolina Republican did not vote to impeach Trump, but criticized the president and his GP colleagues for their role in the crisis.
“We should not silence the voices of dissent,” Mace said. “That’s one of the reasons we’re in this today is that we’ve allowed the conspiracy theorists QAnon to lead us.”
Representative Chip Roy, Texas, also rejected Cheney’s calls for resignation, although they differed on impeachment. “Liz should be praised, not condemned, for standing up for the Constitution and being true to her beliefs,” he said.
And spokesman Dan Crenshaw, Texas, tweeted that Cheney “has a hell of a lot more backbone than most” and “will continue to be a much-needed leader in the conference, with my full support.”
“We can disagree without breaking up,” he added.
In addition to supporting impeachment, Cheney also annoyed some of his colleagues by taking such a public stand against challenging the election results before the Jan. 6 vote, even sending a 21-page note arguing why opposition to President-elect Joe Biden’s victory would be unconstitutional. More than 120 Republicans in parliament joined the objections.
The same Republicans who backed the president’s baseless allegations of fraud that fueled the deadly siege of the Capitol are now prosecuting Cheney. But some of these lawmakers now face calls for reprimands, resignations or investigations into their own roles.
The episode is just the last chapter of the ongoing clash between Cheney and the right wing of the House GOP conference. While Cheney has long repulsed Trump on foreign policy and national security issues, hardliners began turning her on last summer when she criticized Trump’s work with the coronavirus and also backed the main opponent, Thomas Massi.
At the time, some conservatives were even considering hiring someone to challenge her to chair the conference, but it never materialized; Cheney was unanimously elected in November to serve another two-year leadership term.
But some Republicans have expressed regret that they did not force a roll call after she issued a statement urging Trump to respect the “sanctity” of the election if he could not prove his allegations of voter fraud in court. The focus of freedom, a group of about 30 conservative hardliners, is a key bloc for voting in the House of Representatives, although their power is waning in the minority.
“She should not serve at this conference,” said Free Committee Chairman Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.). “It is.”
Ben Leonard and Olivia Beaver contributed to this report.