Two days after removing Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., as House GOP Conference chair over her refusal to embrace former President Donald Trump's false claim that the 2020 election was stolen, House Republicans on Friday elected her replacement: Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., a Trump loyalist.
The vote was 134-46 in favor of Stefanik, who was unsuccessfully challenged by Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas.
She now replaces Cheney in the No. 3 spot in the House GOP behind Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., the minority whip.
"My focus is on unity because that is what the American people and that is what our voters deserve," Stefanik told reporters shortly after the vote. "I want to thank this leadership team. I look forward to working with them in partnership, shoulder to shoulder, to make sure we are working on behalf of hardworking Americans."
"I also want to thank President Trump for his support," she added. "He is a critical part of our Republican team."
House Republicans met behind closed doors Wednesday and stripped Cheney, who has been sharply critical of her colleagues for echoing Trump’s election falsehoods, from her leadership position.
Cheney said her removal signaled an existential crisis for the soul of the GOP, and vowed to continue fighting for the preservation of democracy.
“I will do everything I can to ensure that the former president never again gets anywhere near the Oval Office,” Cheney said Wednesday. “We have seen the danger that he continues to provoke with his language. We have seen his lack of commitment and dedication to the Constitution.”
Cheney is more conservative than Stefanik, a 36-year-old Harvard grad from deep-blue New York state with a decidedly moderate voting record.
But Stefanik has become a vocal supporter of Trump, defending him during his first impeachment inquiry from her highly visible platform on the House Intelligence Committee.
She has also very publicly embraced his false election claims, endorsing lawsuits to overturn the results, voting to reject Joe Biden’s winning electoral votes after the Capitol riot and supporting inquiries into “voting irregularities” while frequently engaging in cancel-culture wars on cable news and social media — much to Trump’s delight.
"I believe that voters determine the leader of the Republican Party," Stefanik said Friday. "President Trump is the leader that they look to. I support President Trump. Voters support President Trump. He is an important voice in our Republican Party, and I look forward to working with him."
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