A group of President Trump’s toughest allies in the House are calling on Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming, Republican No.3, to step down from her leadership post after voting to impeach Mr. Trump, dramatizing bitter divisions within party and the setting for a messy internal feud that could define its future.
Members of the ultra-conservative Freedom Caucus, including the chairman, Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona, along with Reps Jim Jordan of Ohio and Matt Gaetz of Florida, are circulating a petition calling on Ms. Cheney to resign her role as Speaker of the House Republican Conference, arguing that her vote to impeach Mr. Trump had “discredited the conference and caused discord.”
Ms Cheney was one of 10 Republicans to break with the party on Wednesday and vote to indict the president of “inciting insurgency” for his role in urging a crowd that stormed the Capitol.
“One of those 10 can’t be our leader,” Gaetz said in an interview with Fox News’ “Hannity” Wednesday night. “It is untenable, unsustainable, and we have to make a change in leadership.”
Ms Cheney dismissed calls to resign, saying she was “going nowhere” and calling her break-up with Mr Trump “a vote of conscience.” Several Republicans, including some members of the Freedom Caucus, began to circle the carts around her.
Other party members who have criticized the president have also rushed to his defense.
“Liz has more support now than two days ago,” said Representative Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, who also voted to impeach Mr. Trump. “She has earned immeasurable respect.”
Mr Kinzinger suggested that it is Republicans like Mr Jordan who should be sidelined in the wake of the siege and the impeachment it brought about.
“Since the discussion is open, however, we may also have to have a discussion about who in our party instigated this, and their roles as rank members,” he said.
The debate over Ms. Cheney’s leadership reflects the Republican Party’s deep divides over Mr. Trump, which demanded full loyalty from his party and, until recently, received it widely.
While prominent figures have backed down from Mr. Trump’s inflammatory policies in the wake of the January 6 riot over fears it could ruin their party, a large minority faction – many in the House – remains reluctant to do so. to abandon. . Republicans are scrambling to determine the political consequences of doing so and whether they would pay a higher political price for breaking up with the president or for not doing so.
Senate Republicans face such a dilemma as they consider voting in an impeachment trial that could begin as early as next week.
Both representatives Kevin McCarthy of California, the minority leader, and Steve Scalise of Louisiana, the minority whip, voted against Mr. Trump’s impeachment, although Mr. McCarthy said the president was responsible for the sits and deserved censorship.
Ms Cheney, on the other hand, had issued a scathing statement the day before the impeachment vote in which she said: “There has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution.”
But she chose not to speak during the debate in the House. Many Democrats – who have long insulted her and her father, former Vice President Dick Cheney – have cited her with approval in their own speeches.