House Republicans voted to remove Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyoming) from her leadership position on Wednesday, in a move that cemented the right’s unending fealty to former President Donald Trump.
Cheney had refused to continue perpetuating Trump’s big lie that the election was stolen, which many Republicans viewed as a sort of betrayal of their values — though Cheney herself has been a loyal rank-and-file GOP member over the years, often pushing the worst elements of conservative ideology.
The lawmakers ousted her by a voice vote in a brief closed-door meeting. House Republicans booed Cheney as she made her final speech on Wednesday morning.
In her speech from the House floor on Tuesday night, Cheney condemned her colleagues for being “at war with the Constitution” and “embolden[ing] the liar.” All but one of her fellow Republicans left the chamber during her speech.
Republicans have chosen Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-New York) to replace Cheney. Stefanik had previously branded herself as a moderate, which only got her dismissed by fellow Republicans. In recent months, however, Stefanik has pledged her allegiance to Trump — a move that, clearly, has been a boon to her career.
Cheney’s ousting is largely viewed as the definitive move by the Republican Party to vow total loyalty to Trump and the authoritarian movement he created. They have especially doubled down on that stance in the past months; back in February, despite the fact that Cheney had just voted to impeach Trump, Republicans had voted 145 to 61 to keep her in her leadership position.
Republicans like Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) have come to her defense in saying that she is being ousted for refusing to lie about the election.
Indeed, in her final days as the third highest ranking Republican in the House, Cheney embraced a martyr-like status as moderate Republicans and even Democrats praised her for doing the bare minimum of recognizing that Joe Biden won the election.