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US Republicans force out Trump critic

May 12, 2021

The Wyoming representative was one of the few Republicans to not fully support former president Trump. She intends to remain in Congress, but could face a tough battle to keep her seat.

Wyoming Representative Liz Cheney
The daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney was the third in command for the GOP in the HouseImage: Saul Loeb/AFP

US Republicans removed Wyoming representative Liz Cheney from the party's leadership on Wednesday.

Cheney was voted out as the House of Representatives number three leader after taking to the floor on Tuesday evening and speaking out against some fellow Republicans' belief that former US President Donald Trump won the 2020 presidential election.

"Remaining silent and ignoring the lie emboldens the liar," she said in the nearly empty chamber. "I will not sit back and watch in silence while others lead our party down a path that abandons the rule of law and joins the former president's crusade to undermine our democracy."

Cheney, who had held her party leadership position since 2018, told reporters after her removal, "if you want leaders who will enable and spread his destructive lies, I'm not your person, you have plenty of others to choose from. That will be their legacy."

In a statement following Wednesday's vote, Trump said, "Liz Cheney is a bitter, horrible human being."

It is not immediately clear who will take Cheney's seat in the party leadership. Trump and top House Republicans Kevin McCarthy and Steve Scalise have endorsed New York representative Elise Stefanik. Stefanik was a moderate Republican when she entered Congress at 30 years old in 2015, but has become an ardent Trump supporter.

In a letter announcing Wednesday's vote, McCarthy told his fellow Republicans "it's clear that we need to make a change. These internal conflicts need to be resolved, so as to not detract from the efforts of our collective team."

Words have consequences

Cheney, the daughter of former Republican Vice President Dick Cheney, was one of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump for inciting the January 6 insurrection. Cheney spoke before the vote, saying, "the president of the United States summoned this mob, assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack. Everything that followed was his doing."

Trump was acquitted due to the Republican support of the president.

Cheney had clashed with Trump before, disagreeing with the withdrawal from Syria andhim attacking Dr. Anthony Fauci over the pandemic. She continued to push back against Trump's influence on the Republican party, penning a column in the Washington Post newspaper that said the GOP was at a "turning point."

"Republicans must decide whether we are going to choose truth and fidelity to the constitution," said Cheney in the column published May 5.

Cheney has told Republicans that she intends to remain in Congress and seek re-election in her heavily pro-Trump state of Wyoming. The former president has said that he would find a primary challenger to oppose her.

Wednesday's decision to remove Cheney from her post stands in stark contrast to McCarthy's decision to not act against representatives Marjorie Taylor Greene, who has previously made statements that supported violence against Democrats, or Matt Gaetz, who is the subject of a federal child sex-trafficking probe.

Can the US find unity?

kbd/aw (Reuters, AP, AFP)

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