House Republicans voted to remove Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) from her leadership post as chair of the House Republican conference on Wednesday (May 12) amid public criticism of former President Donald Trump.
“We must be true to our principles and to the Constitution,” Cheney reportedly told fellow House Republicans before the closed-door vote, a source in the room confirmed to NBC News. “We cannot let the former president drag us backward and make us complicit in his efforts to unravel our democracy. Down that path lies our destruction, and potentially the destruction of our country.”
Following the vote, Cheney, the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, told the room that she "will do everything I can to ensure that the former president never again gets anywhere near the Oval Office" should Trump decide to once again run for president.
NBC News reports the conference was led by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Cheney was voted out quickly. Republicans initially planned to vote via secret ballot but instead held a voice vote, making it impossible to know how many individuals within the caucus supported her removal and how many were in favor of keeping her in her leadership role.
"There were no speeches really. It was just Kevin standing up and then the vote happened," said Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), a Cheney ally who referred to the actions on Wednesday morning as a "sad day."
Shortly after the vote, Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), who many expect to replace Cheney as the No. 3 House Republican, had already sent a letter to colleagues outlining her goals to fill the position, CNN reports.
“This week, I have had hundreds of productive and informative conversations with Members from all corners of our Conference. Today I humbly ask to earn your vote for House Republican Conference Chair to unify our message as a team and win the Majority in 2022,” Stefanik wrote.
Cheney initially drew the ire of many Republican colleagues after publicly siding against former President Trump in his baseless claims of election frauds, while also being among the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump for inciting the January 6 Capitol insurrection.
The GOP conference initially voted, 145-61, to keep Cheney in leadership in February, with McCarthy showing his support of Cheney.
Since then, however, Cheney has continued to criticize Trump as he's re-emerged publicly following his loss in the 2020 presidential race, showing he still has a tight grip over the Republican Party.
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