House Republicans on Friday elevated Rep. Elise StefanikElise Marie StefanikThe Memo: What now for anti-Trump Republicans? Roy to challenge Stefanik for Cheney’s old position Stefanik shake-up jump-starts early jockeying for committee posts MORE (R-N.Y.) to replace Rep. Liz CheneyElizabeth (Liz) Lynn CheneyOvernight Defense: Military sexual assault reform bill has votes to pass in Senate l First active duty service member arrested over Jan. 6 riot l Israeli troops attack Gaza Strip Cheney: Fox News has ‘a particular obligation’ to refute election fraud claims The Memo: What now for anti-Trump Republicans? MORE (R-Wyo.) as the party’s conference chair, capping a tumultuous three-week stretch that exposed the deep divisions in a conference beholden to former President TrumpDonald TrumpProject Veritas surveilled government officials to expose anti-Trump sentiments: report Cheney: Fox News has ‘a particular obligation’ to refute election fraud claims The Memo: What now for anti-Trump Republicans? MORE.
Stefanik, who was backed by Trump and top House GOP leaders, easily defeated Rep. Chip RoyCharles (Chip) Eugene RoyRoy to challenge Stefanik for Cheney’s old position The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Facebook – Biden expresses optimism on bipartisanship; Cheney ousted Warren says Republican Party ‘eating itself and it is discovering that the meal is poisonous’ MORE (R-Texas), a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus who launched a last-minute challenge over concerns Stefanik’s voting record is too liberal. The vote was 134-46.
Three other Republicans, Reps. Jim JordanJames (Jim) Daniel JordanRoy to challenge Stefanik for Cheney’s old position Stefanik shake-up jump-starts early jockeying for committee posts Pelosi: GOP in Cheney ouster declared ‘courage, patriotism and integrity’ not welcome MORE (Ohio), Virginia FoxxVirginia Ann FoxxStefanik shake-up jump-starts early jockeying for committee posts House Republicans press Biden Education secretary on reopening outreach North Carolina deputy killed in standoff after wellness check MORE (N.C.) and Cathy McMorris RodgersCathy McMorris RodgersStefanik shake-up jump-starts early jockeying for committee posts Colonial Pipeline attack underscores US energy’s vulnerability Hillicon Valley: US, UK authorities say Russian hackers exploited Microsoft vulnerabilities | Lawmakers push for more cyber funds in annual appropriations | Google child care workers ask for transportation stipend MORE (Wash.), each received a single vote. Nine lawmakers voted present.
Heading into the vote, Stefanik brushed aside those criticisms, pledging that she’d fight to keep Republicans as one voice heading into the 2022 midterm elections, where they like their odds of flipping control of the House.
“We are unified at making sure that we win the majority and that we focus on the damage that the Biden-Pelosi agenda is doing across America,” Stefanik told reporters Thursday night after making her pitch to GOP colleagues.
The closed-door election was held two days after House Republicans took the unprecedented step of voting to oust Cheney from the No. 3 leadership post for continuing to call out Trump’s baseless claims that the 2020 election was stolen and cast blame on the former president for the Jan. 6 insurrection.
Removing Cheney marks a near-term victory for GOP leaders hoping to move beyond the controversies swirling around Trump’s actions since the election by removing a consistent GOP critic of Trump who has repeatedly called out his false claims.
But they also carry risks.
Cheney, the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, was the highest-ranking GOP woman in Congress, leading to charges that women have no place in the highest ranks of Republican leadership — even a scion of one of the most powerful conservative families in the country. And Cheney, from her new spot in the rank-and-file, says she won’t remain silent about the former president, vowing to fight tooth-and-nail to diminish Trump’s iron grip over the party heading into future elections.
“We have got a huge set of policies we have got to be able to implement — we have to get people to vote for us. And we can’t do that if we are a party that’s based on a foundation of lies,” Cheney said Thursday night in a Fox News interview.
“I think what the former president is doing is dangerous.”
Rep. Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyRoy to challenge Stefanik for Cheney’s old position Stefanik shake-up jump-starts early jockeying for committee posts Why Cheney was toppled, and what it says about the GOP and Trump’s claims MORE (R-Calif.), the House minority leader, has dismissed the idea that Cheney’s persistent anti-Trump campaign will complicate the GOP’s effort to turn the page with Stefanik. Voters, he suggested, are more interested in kitchen-table issues than the GOP’s internal fights.
“She can talk whatever she wants,” McCarthy said Thursday night. “I think the American public are concerned about gas lines, inflation, kids not getting back in school, the jobless claims.
“I think that’s what they want to see people work on and work towards.”
In swapping Cheney for Stefanik, Republicans have installed a 36-year-old lawmaker who hails from a blue state and has a more moderate track record on Capitol Hill, including a vote against the tax cuts that stand as Trump’s signature domestic achievement. Yet Stefanik’s district, after siding twice with Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaTop Democrat buys Funny Or Die Michelle Obama describes Barack’s favorite movies: ‘Everybody is sad, then they die’ Obama calls on governments to ‘do their part’ in increasing global vaccine supply MORE, turned sharply toward Trump in 2016 and 2020. And Stefanik responded in turn, rebranding herself as a Trump loyalist and winning national acclaim in the party after aggressively defending the 45th president during his first impeachment.
Her victory underscores how today’s Republican Party values absolute loyalty to Trump over conservatism.
It was Stefanik’s voting record that sparked the eleventh-hour challenge from Roy, a former chief of staff to Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzSenate panel deadlocks over Biden pick to lead DOJ civil rights division Yang: Those who thought tweet in support of Israel was ‘overly simplistic’ are correct CNN asks Carol Baskin to comment on loose Texas tiger MORE (R-Texas), who also objected to the process that promoted Stefanik just days after Cheney’s departure. Roy labeled it a “coronation.”
“I’ll just tell you there’s a lot of hunger in the conference for slowing down, thinking through this, doing the right thing, making sure that we’re advancing the right policies and the right message,” Roy told The Hill ahead of the vote.
Earlier in a memo to GOP lawmakers, he made the case that Stefanik is too liberal for the position.
“With all due respect to my friend, Elise Stefanik, let us contemplate the message Republican leadership is about to send by rushing to coronate a spokesperson whose voting record embodies much of what led to the 2018 ass-kicking we received by Democrats,” Roy wrote.
Yet Roy has his own track record of bucking Trump and the party. In January, he opposed the Republican effort to overturn the 2020 election results in six states. And he did it in a manner that infuriated his colleagues, forcing a floor vote on a resolution that would have blocked the swearing-in of those members from the six contested states.
His message was clear: If Joe BidenJoe BidenFauci says school should be open ‘full blast’ five days a week in the fall Overnight Defense: Military sexual assault reform bill has votes to pass in Senate l First active duty service member arrested over Jan. 6 riot l Israeli troops attack Gaza Strip Immigration experts say GOP senators questioned DHS secretary with misleading chart MORE’s victory in those states is illegitimate, he was saying, then yours might be too. Few of his fellow Republicans saw the discrepancy, however, and only two GOP lawmakers voted to prevent Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOvernight Defense: Military sexual assault reform bill has votes to pass in Senate l First active duty service member arrested over Jan. 6 riot l Israeli troops attack Gaza Strip Hillicon Valley: Colonial pipeline is back online, but concerns remain | Uber, Lyft struggle with driver supply | Apple cuts controversial hire Ocasio-Cortez on Taylor Greene: ‘These are the kinds of people that I threw out of bars all the time’ MORE (D-Calif.) from swearing in the entire House.
On Friday, Roy’s challenge proved to be quixotic. And Trump helped seal his defeat by endorsing Stefanik once more ahead of the vote, while suggesting he’d back any primary opponent who emerged to challenge Roy — a threat the Texas firebrand quickly dismissed as Beltway nonsense.
“This is all D.C. swamp business,” he said Thursday night.