Freedom Caucus members urge Cheney to step down from GOP leadership role after latest anti-Trump comment
Ahead of his CPAC speech, Cheney says Trump shouldn't be 'playing a role' in GOP's future
The chair of the conservative House Freedom Caucus is urging Rep. Liz Cheney to step down from her position as the number three House Republican in leadership over her latest critical comments of former President Donald Trump.
"She should step down," Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona told reporters on Thursday.
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And Rep. Chip Roy of Texas, another House Freedom Caucus member, said Cheney has "forfeited her right to be chair of the Republican Caucus."
The calls by Biggs and Roy for Cheney to relinquish her House GOP leadership role come a day after the Wyoming lawmaker and vocal Trump critic publicly took aim once again at the former president.
During a House Republican leadership briefing with reporters Wednesday, both Cheney and House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California were asked if Trump should have a prominent speaking role at the Conservative Political Action Conference, which is better known by its acronym CPAC. The former president – who remains extremely popular and influential with Republican voters – is scheduled on Sunday to give the keynote address at CPAC, the largest annual gathering of conservative leaders and activists.
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"Yes, he should," McCarthy said in a brief response.
Cheney then said "that’s up to CPAC. I've been clear about my views of President Trump and the extent to which, following Jan. 6., I don't believe that he should be playing a role in the future of the party or the country."
After a moment of awkward silence, McCarthy concluded the press conference. "On that high note, thank you all very much," he said to laughter from reporters.
Cheney, the three-term statewide congresswoman and the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, who has followed in the footsteps of her father in advocating for a hawkish and muscular U.S. role overseas, was a vocal critic of Trump's "America First" policies of limiting the use of American troops in international conflicts. And she was a veteran of numerous clashes with Trump and his allies during his four years in the White House
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Cheney came under fire last month over her vote to impeach Trump on a charge of inciting the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol by right-wing extremists and other Trump supporters. Cheney was the most senior of 10 Republicans who joined all 222 House Democrats to impeach Trump, with 197 GOP representatives voting against impeachment.
Earlier this month a group of Trump loyalists in the House pushed to strip Cheney of her leadership position and predicted that they had the support of more than half of the House Republican Conference heading into a major closed-door meeting.
But 145 members of the House Republican Conference ended up backing Cheney, with just 61 Trump loyalists voting to remove her from her leadership role during a secret ballot vote amid a tense four-hour meeting.
Biggs, a major Trump supporter, said Cheney’s Wednesday comments were "outrageous" but "consistent with at least four other statements she's made in the last few weeks." And he emphasized that he doesn't believe "she is able to carry out" her House GOP leadership responsibilities "any further."
"I also think she is absolutely devoid of any kind of political reading of what's going on in the party," he added. "If she any sense of shame, she would step down."
Roy called Cheney's latest comments "completely out of step with the Republican conference."
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Roy, who said after the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol that Trump "deserves universal condemnation for what was clearly impeachable conduct," highlighted that Cheney's comments are "in complete opposition" to where the majority of House Republicans stand.
While easily surviving the push to strip her of her leadership position in Congress, Cheney's facing trouble back home. The Wyoming Republican Party censured Cheney, and she’s facing multiple primary challenges to her reelection next year.
Fox News’ Brie Stimson contributed to this report.