House GOP ousts Trump critic Liz Cheney from top post

(CBS News) — Representative Liz Cheney was removed from her post of conference chair in a voice vote, shortly after the closed-door vote came to order. The meeting adjourned by 9:20 a.m.

After the vote, Cheney told reporters that she “will do everything I can to make sure the former president never again gets anywhere near the Oval Office.” She faced the ouster from her leadership post for openly criticizing Mr. Trump.

“We have seen the danger that he continues to provoke with his language,” Cheney said about the former president. “We have seen his lack of commitment and dedication to the Constitution, and I think it’s very important that we make sure whomever we elect is somebody who will be faithful to the Constitution.”

One of her allies, Republican Representative Adam Kinzinger, said the vote was swift. Kinzinger told reporters there weren’t really speeches ahead of the vote, “really it was just Kevin standing up” and telling those in his GOP conference it’s time to “move on.”

On the eve of the vote, Cheney delivered a defiant speech on the House floor, warning her party that she “will not sit back and watch in silence” as Mr. Trump makes baseless claims that he won the election.

“This is not about policy, this is not about partisanship, this is about our duty as Americans,” Cheney said. “Remaining silent and ignoring the lie emboldens the liar. I will not participate in that. 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 was the third-highest-ranking Republican in the House. In February, she was one of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Mr. Trump for inciting the mob that overran the Capitol in January in an attempt to overthrow the results of the election.

Mr. Trump was acquitted in the Senate — where seven Republicans voted to convict him — but Cheney still faced calls to be removed from her leadership position. One of Mr. Trump’s most enthusiastic allies in the House, Representative Matt Gaetz, held a rally in Cheney’s home state of Wyoming against her.

In February, House Republicans held their first vote to oust Cheney, but that time, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy advised Republicans not to remove her, urging them to move past impeachment. In the secret ballot vote, just 61 Republicans voted to remove Cheney from her post, while 145 voted for her to stay. Days later, the Wyoming GOP voted to censure her.

Cheney didn’t back down from her criticism of Mr. Trump. In a Washington Post op-ed, she called him “dangerous” and urged Republicans to turn away from his “anti-democratic cult of personality.” That set off a torrent of criticism from within the party, with McCarthy and other members of the GOP leadership backing Trump ally Elise Stefanik to take her position.

Categories: Associated Press, News, US

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