Friday , March 31 2023
Liz Cheney on Wednesday said she would ‘lead the fight’ to create a stronger Republican party. Photograph: Michael Reynolds/EPA

US Republicans vote to remove Liz Cheney from leadership role for challenging Trump election claims

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US Republicans have voted to oust a top lawmaker, Liz Cheney, from her leadership post over her criticism of former President Donald Trump.

The Wyoming lawmaker, daughter of ex-US Vice-President Dick Cheney, has held the third-ranking post in the House of Representatives since 2019.

On Tuesday she said her party could not stand for truth if it upheld Mr. Trump’s false claims he won the 2020 election.

House Republicans will likely replace her this month with a Trump loyalist.

The move is seen as a sign Mr. Trump’s grip on the party is stronger than ever six months after he lost the election.

Ms. Cheney’s fate was decided by House Republicans in a vote behind closed doors on Wednesday morning.

Colleagues reportedly applauded her leadership tenure but booed as she spoke to them during the session.

Ms. Cheney has repeatedly condemned Mr. Trump over his unfounded claims the 2020 vote was stolen from him.

In an impassioned speech on the floor of the House of Representatives Tuesday night, she said: “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.”

Immediately following her ouster, she told reporters: “I will do everything I can to ensure that the former president never again gets anywhere near the Oval Office.”

Why was Cheney in trouble?

Her political fall from grace stems from the aftermath of the Capitol riots on 6 January, when Trump supporters stormed Congress.

She was one of 10 members of her party who voted days later with Democrats to impeach the then-president for incitement of insurrection. He was acquitted in the Republican-controlled Senate.

Accusing her of disloyalty, rank-and-file House Republicans held a vote a month later on unseating Ms. Cheney from her role as party conference chair.

But the party’s leader in the lower chamber, Kevin McCarthy, advised colleagues at the time against removing her. She survived the secret ballot by 145-61. Since then she has continued to upbraid Mr. Trump.

The final straw for many party colleagues seems to have been her anti-Trump broadside last week in a Washington Post op-ed. After its publication, Mr. McCarthy and his deputy, Republican whip Steve Scalise, began taking steps to oust Ms. Cheney.

Mr. McCarthy was recently caught on a hot mic telling a Fox News presenter: “I’ve had it with her. You know, I’ve lost confidence.”

On Monday, the California congressman wrote to his colleagues: “Each day spent relitigating the past is one day less we have to seize the future.” He added: “It’s clear that we need to make a change.”

About Charles Igbinidu

Charles Igbinidu is a Public Relations practitioner in Lagos, Nigeria

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