Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) broke with pro-Trump Republicans on Tuesday afternoon, expressing support for House Republican Conference Chairwoman Liz Cheney (R-WY) to remain in her leadership post.
Cassidy said “I support Liz Cheney” ahead of Wednesday’s vote in which House Republicans are expected to replace the Wyoming Republican with Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), according to AP reporter Melinda Deslatte.
— Melinda Deslatte (@MelindaDeslatte) May 11, 2021
Cassidy’s declaration follows the Louisiana Republican arguing in a Sunday interview with NBC’s Meet the Press that if the GOP wants to win in 2022 and 2024, the party must agree with Cheney’s view that former President Donald Trump lost the 2020 presidential election to President Joe Biden.
“If you look at polls, there’s a whole group of folks that agree with Liz Cheney. And so, for us to win in 2022 and 2024, we need everybody. We need those who feel as Liz, those who feel as Lindsey. Ultimately it’s about the policies. You see that Cheney, Cassidy, support those policies. Those policies are a ticket to victory. Those policies bring us back in 2022,” Cassidy told host Chuck Todd.
Cheney’s days as House Republican Conference chair is expected to come to a sudden end due to her sharp attacks on Trump. Last Monday, the Wyoming Republican garnered ire for saying that anyone alleging the 2020 presidential election was stolen is “poisoning our democratic system” — a direct rebuke of Trump, who claimed previously his defeat to Biden would be known moving forward as “THE BIG LIE!”
“The 2020 presidential election was not stolen,” Cheney tweeted of the former president’s comment. “Anyone who claims it was is spreading THE BIG LIE, turning their back on the rule of law, and poisoning our democratic system.”
Cheney’s targeting of Trump has has become too large a distraction for the House Republican caucus to ignore at a time when the party is working to retake the lower chamber. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) have both endorsed Stefanik to replace Cheney.
“To defeat Nancy Pelosi and the socialist agenda, we need to be united, and that starts with leadership. That’s why we will have a vote next week, and we want to be united and looking moving forward. I think that’s what will take place,” McCarthy told the Fox News Channel’s Sunday Morning Futures.
“Any member can take whatever position they believe in. That’s what the voters vote on the individuals, and they make that decision. What we are talking about, it’s a position in leadership,” he added. “We are in one of our biggest battles ever for this nation and the direction of whether this century will be ours. As conference chair, you have the most critical jobs of the messenger going forward.”
Trump has also expressed support for Stefanik.
“Liz Cheney is a warmongering fool who has no business in Republican Party Leadership. We want leaders who believe in the Make America Great Again movement, and prioritize the values of America First,” the former president said in a recent statement.
“Elise Stefanik is a far superior choice, and she has my COMPLETE and TOTAL Endorsement for GOP Conference Chair. Elise is a tough and smart communicator!” he added.