Kevin McCarthy walking 'tightrope' as Trump hardliners push to expel Cheney and Kinzinger from GOP: report
Saul Loeb/AFP

With the RNC expected to censure Reps. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) and Liz Cheney (R-WY) on Friday for voting to impeach former president Donald Trump, Punchbowl News is reporting that there is a move afoot by some Trump hardliners who want to go further and expel them completely from the party.

And that, the report notes, is something House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is trying to avoid.

With Kinzinger not running for his seat again later this year, and Cheney possibly on the verge of losing re-election, the report notes that some Republicans are cautioning against getting carried away with a move that would also put McCarthy in a precarious position.

According to Punchbowl, "The RNC watered down the resolution – introduced by David Bossie, a former senior Trump adviser – NBC reported. It initially called for Cheney and Kinzinger to be expelled from the party by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy," before noting that the GOP leader has been balking at making such a drastic move.

WATCH: RNC ‘party hacks’ ripped by ex-GOP congressman for censure of Cheney and Kinzinger

Suggesting that the rabid Trump faction could still try to "force [McCarthy's] hand," Punchbowl reports, "Rule 1(b) of the House Republican Conference rules say: 'A ⅔ vote of the entire membership shall be necessary to expel a Member of the Conference. Proceedings for expulsion shall follow the rules of the House of Representatives, as nearly as practicable.' If someone were to call on Cheney and Kinzinger to be removed from the conference, McCarthy could use procedural methods to try to slow down or shelve it."

That, the report notes, could come back to haunt McCarthy who hopes to become House speaker if the the GOP reclaims the House in the 2022 midterms.

McCarthy has a tightrope to walk here. If he’s seen as protecting Cheney and Kinzinger, the California Republican risks damaging his relationship with the hard right – a relationship that was once rocky but is now largely under control," the report states. "However, if he gives in to their demands, McCarthy puts the spotlight directly on his conference at a time when his best move is to keep a low profile."

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