California Minority Leader Representative Kevin McCarthy said Tuesday that House Republican lawmakers had expressed concern to him about whether Wyoming Representative Liz Cheney, the party's No. 3, could continue her position, prompting mounting speculation. that Ms. Cheney could do. be stripped of her managerial position.
"I've heard from members that she was concerned about her ability to fulfill the role of conference chairman, to get the message out," Mr. McCarthy said of Fox. "We all have to work together if we are to win the majority."
Mr. McCarthy's comments were a striking escalation of a growing feud that Ms. Cheney – who has been outspoken against Donald J. and hugged the former president.
Mr. McCarthy chose Mr. Trump's favorite news program, & # 39; Fox and Friends, & # 39; as the location for his latest broadcast of the party's concerns about Mrs. Cheney, whose fate has become a bell to the future of the party. His decision to do so reflected growing resentment among ordinary Republicans on Ms. Cheney's determination to keep calling Mr. Trump and members of their party.
When a group of pro-Trump Republicans in the House moved in February to remove Ms. Cheney from her leadership role, citing her decision to vote to impeach Mr. Trump, Mr. McCarthy defended her in a speech just before the secret ballot, which she won overwhelmingly. But in the weeks that followed, Mr. McCarthy seems to have soured her as Ms. Cheney continues to contradict him, mainly on whether Mr. Trump should continue to play a leading role in the party.
The turning point came last week during a conference retreat in Orlando, where Ms. Cheney told reporters that any lawmaker who led the attempt to invalidate President Biden's election victory in Congress should be disqualified from running for president. She also broke with leading Republicans on the scope of a proposed independent commission to investigate the January 6 uprising, saying it should narrowly target the attack on the Capitol, not the Antifa and Black Lives Matter protests. such as Mr McCarthy and others. have insisted in the party.
Some lawmakers are so confident that the conference will hold a vote to remove Ms. Cheney from her position that they have begun hovering names of Republicans who could replace her in the third rank. That pursuit is also fraught. Aware of the optics of replacing the only woman in the leadership with another man, Republicans are looking to choose a woman.
Some of them are optimistic about the prospect of New York Representative Elise Stefanik, an outspoken rising star within the party who has struggled to increase the number of women in the party, but it is not clear she would be interested in the job . Indiana representative Jackie Walorski, who was named a top Republican on the ethics committee earlier this year, was also cited as a possibility.