Liz Cheney has been ousted from Republican congressional leadership over her opposition to Donald Trump, the latest dramatic development in an intraparty war over the former president.
GOP lawmakers voted overwhelmingly to remove Cheney from party leadership in a closed-door meeting on Capitol Hill on Wednesday morning.
During a speech on the floor of the House of Representatives late on Tuesday, Cheney tore into her fellow Republicans for their support of Trump, who continues to repeat false claims that last year’s election was stolen from him.
“Our duty is clear. Every one of us who has sworn the oath must act to prevent the unravelling of our democracy,” Cheney told her fellow lawmakers. “Remaining silent, and ignoring the lie, emboldens the liar.”
“I will not participate in that,” she added. “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.”
The Wyoming congresswoman’s relationship with fellow Republicans has deteriorated since the January 6 attack on the US Capitol, which interrupted the certification of Joe Biden’s electoral victory and left five people dead. Cheney was one of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump for his role in the riot.
She survived a confidence vote of her peers in February but now has little support from her colleagues. The most senior House Republican, Kevin McCarthy, openly campaigned for her removal and said he would support her being replaced by Elise Stefanik, the New York Democrat who is loyal to Trump. McCarthy earlier this week wrote to colleagues saying: “It’s clear that we need to make a change.”
Cheney, who is a staunch conservative, said on Tuesday that Trump continued to pose an unprecedented threat to American democracy and risked inciting further violence by undermining trust in US institutions.
Her expulsion from Republican party leadership underscores the enduring influence Trump has on the GOP heading into next year’s midterm elections, when Republicans will jockey to regain control of both the House of Representatives and the Senate.
Despite being banned from most social media platforms, Trump continues to release regular statements through Save America, his fundraising vehicle.
On Wednesday morning, the former president said House Republicans had a “great opportunity” to “rid themselves of a poor leader, a major Democrat talking point, a warmonger and a person with absolutely no personality or heart”, calling Cheney “bad for our country and bad for herself”.