Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the third-ranked Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives, is likely to be removed from her leadership position by the party for her vehement criticism of former President Donald Trump, her acknowledgment that Joe Biden is the legitimate president, and her admission that that widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election did not occur. And House Minority Whip Steve Scalise has a replacement in mind: Rep. Elise Stefanik, who is actively campaigning for the role.
Liberal Washington Post opinion writer Greg Sargent lambasts Stefanik in his column this week, stressing that Stefanik's deceptive statements speak volumes about her lack of character.
"With Republicans preparing to oust Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming from the House GOP leadership and replace her with Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York, reporters have been digging up past Stefanik statements displaying her true credentials as a Republican leader of the future," Sargent explains. "Those credentials, most obviously, are her unwavering loyalty to Donald Trump and to his Big Lie about the stolen 2020 election. But another crucial credential, one getting less attention, is Stefanik's willingness to deceive her own constituents to justify taking official action to invalidate legitimate election results."
Sargent adds, "Just before voting to object to President Biden's electors on January 6, Stefanik released a lengthy statement faithfully echoing numerous Trumpian lies about the election, included flatly debunked nonsense about 140,000 unauthorized votes in Georgia. This showed Stefanik embracing Trump and his lies more directly than many other Republicans, who carefully couched votes against Biden electors behind procedural objections."
Stefanik, Sargent notes, made a concerted effort to "deceive voters with falsehoods about legitimate election results." And according to Sargent, she was equally deceptive when she "condemned" the January 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol Building but "declined to blame Trump for it, insisting he had not 'encouraged' it."
The 36-year-old congresswoman from Upstate New York has been criticizing Cheney for not being a team player. Appearing on "The War Room" — a podcast hosted by former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon — Stefanik said, "We are one team, and that means working with the president and working with all of our excellent Republican members of Congress." But when Stefanik spoke of "working with the president," she wasn't referring to Joe Biden. She was referring to Trump and acting as though he were still the president, which plays into the lie that Biden was not legitimately elected in 2020.
While Cheney is calling out the Big Lie as the nonsense conspiracy theory that it is, Sargent observes, Stefanik is happy to keep promoting it.
"I've argued that the real problem with the Cheney situation isn't just that Republicans are punishing her for denouncing Trump and the Big Lie," Sargent writes. "It's also that they're excommunicating Cheney amid her demand that Republicans fully commit to respecting democratic outcomes going forward. That Republicans are punishing this, of all things, suggests they might be pushing us toward an eventual breakdown. The elevation of Stefanik, who's among the most determined in the House GOP caucus when it comes to deceiving voters about the legitimacy of our electoral system, should only fuel those fears."