House Republican leadership is moving to elevate a Donald Trump loyalist as the third-ranking GOP member over embattled Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY).
The Wyoming Republican survived a previous challenge to her leadership in February, weeks after she voted to impeach Trump over his incitement of the Capitol riot, but House minority leader Kevin McCarthy and minority whip Steve Scalise are currently working behind the scenes to elevate Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) as Cheney's replacement, reported Punchbowl.
BREAKING: @GOPLeader Kevin McCarthy and @SteveScalise turn on Cheney, back Stefanik for conference chair.… https://t.co/vnOEzlCU5e— Punchbowl News (@Punchbowl News) 1620208736.0
"House Republicans need to be solely focused on taking back the House in 2022 and fighting against Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi and President [Joe] Biden's radical socialist agenda, and Elise Stefanik is strongly committed to doing that, which is why Whip Scalise has pledged to support her for Conference Chair," said Scalise spokeswoman Lauren Fine.
The pair's support for Stefanik has effectively cleared the field of potential challengers Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-IN) and Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN), who were seen as possible candidates to take Cheney's job as GOP conference chair.
The Republican Conference is likely to remove Cheney as its chair next week, and there's a behind-the-scenes campaign to find a woman lawmaker from outside the right-wing House Freedom Caucus to file a motion to remove Cheney -- who has publicly refused to endorse Trump's stolen election lies.
Stefanik's national profile rose as an outspoken Trump defender during the former president's first impeachment trial over the Ukraine extortion scheme.