Liz Cheney clings to GOP post as Trump endorses replacement

FILE - In this Nov. 25, 2019, file photo, Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., center, speaks with President Donald Trump during a bill signing ceremony for the Women's Suffrage Centennial Commemorative Coin Act in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. Trump and his supporters are intensifying efforts to shame members of the party who are seen as disloyal to the former president and his false claims that last year’s election was stolen from him.(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, the No. 3 Republican in the House, risks losing her leadership post amid her increasingly public dispute with former President Donald Trump. Trump and his supporters are intensifying efforts to shame, and potentially remove, members of their party who are seen as disloyal to the former president and his false claims that last year’s election was stolen from him.

The Wyoming congresswoman, the most senior Republican to call for Trump’s impeachment, has insisted that the party must reject the former president’s lie that the election was somehow stolen. There is no evidence to support Trump’s allegations of mass voter fraud, and numerous audits, Republican state election officials and Trump’s own attorney general have said the election was fair.

But Trump has stuck to his story and issued a “proclamation” Monday attempting to co-opt the language his foes use to brand his falsehoods.

“The Fraudulent Presidential Election of 2020 will be, from this day forth, known as THE BIG LIE!” he wrote.

Cheney, who has not ruled out a 2024 run herself, fired back.

“The 2020 presidential election was not stolen. Anyone who claims it was is spreading THE BIG LIE, turning their back on the rule of law, and poisoning our democratic system,” she tweeted.

Clearly she has no intention of scaling back her criticism, even as she faces the possibility of losing her leadership post.

Cheney survived an earlier attempt to oust her from leadership, but it could be different this time. GOP leader Kevin McCarthy stood by her earlier this year, but he has declined to defend her from the latest round of attacks as he faces conservatives restive for her removal. That's a sign of McCarthy’s own calculations as he works to stay close to Trump while also trying to extend a wider tent to help his party win general elections.

McCarthy said Tuesday on Fox News Channel that Republican lawmakers have expressed their concerns to him about Cheney's ability to do her job as chair of the GOP conference and carry out the message of opposition to Biden to help win back House control.

“We all need to be working as one if we're able to win the majority,” he said. “Remember, majorities are not given. They are earned.”

While the pro-Trump Republican voices on Capitol Hill far outweigh his party critics, the detractors should not be dismissed.

In Utah, Sen. Mitt Romney, a rare Trump foe in the GOP, faced the indignity over the weekend of reminding a booing crowd that he was once their presidential standard-bearer. And in Texas, the only openly anti-Trump Republican in a crowded special election for a congressional seat finished a lowly 9th.

Trump left office nearly four months ago with his reputation badly damaged after a mob of his supporters waged a deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol to prevent the certification of election results. But the recent developments suggest a revival of his political fortunes in which those who refuse to go along with his falsehoods find themselves on the defensive.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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(2) comments

Judd Grossman

I would like to see her removed from leadership.

Judd Grossman

Cheney and Romney are on the wrong track.

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