Rep. Elise Stefanik said Thursday that Republicans need to work as “one team” in 2022 to win back the House of Representatives, comments made as she emerges as the favorite to replace Rep. Liz Cheney as the House Republican Conference chair.
Stefanik, R-N.Y., made the comments in an interview on Steven Bannon’s “War Room Pandemic” podcast. She emphasized her support for former President Donald Trump and said the GOP must work with Trump in the midterms. Trump endorsed Stefanik for the conference chair position on Wednesday.
“My vision is to run with support from the president and his coalition of voters,” Stefanik said after Bannon brought up the topic of the new job she is seeking.
“I’m committed to being a voice and sending a clear message that we are one team and that means working with the president,” and all GOP members of Congress, Stefanik said, referring to Trump.
ELISE STEFANIK, GOP CONFERENCE CHAIR FAVORITE, VOTED WITH TRUMP LESS THAN LIZ CHENEY
She added that she is “proud to stand up for President Trump.”
Cheney, R-Wyo., has fallen out of favor with many House Republicans over the fact she’s repeatedly launched broadsides against Trump over his false claims that the presidential election was stolen.
“The question before us now is whether we will join Trump’s crusade to delegitimize and undo the legal outcome of the 2020 election, with all the consequences that might have,” Cheney said in a Washington Post op-ed Thursday. “While embracing or ignoring Trump’s statements might seem attractive to some for fundraising and political purposes, that approach will do profound long-term damage to our party and our country.”
Cheney’s vote to impeach Trump earlier this year over his alleged role in inspiring the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol by a mob of his supporters triggered an earlier effort to unseat her as conference chair. But House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., stood with Cheney then and she easily survived the effort.
Now, however, McCarthy, Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., and many others have abandoned Cheney and support Stefanik. Even Republicans who were previously highly critical of Trump over the Jan. 6 attack are increasingly displeased with Cheney.
“It’s sad to me because I really like Rep. Cheney,” an aide to a moderate Senate Republican told Fox News. “I wish she could have just made her point and moved on to fighting Democrats.”
TOP REPUBLICANS MCCARTHY, SCALISE BACK STEFANIK AS CHENEY REPLACEMENT AMID BATTLE OVER TRUMP
Stefanik in the past couple of years emerged as a fierce rhetorical fighter for Trump in Congress, especially during the 2019 House impeachment hearings. She was even named an honorary chair of Trump’s reelection campaign in New York. But she’s faced some criticism over her voting record.
According to a tool on the FiveThirtyEight website on “Tracking Congress In The Age Of Trump,” Cheney voted with Trump 92.9% of the time compared to 77.7% for Stefanik.
Cheney also has much higher scores from Heritage Action and the American Conservative Union. Those groups grade Cheney’s votes with a 91% score and a 78% score respectively, compared to a 78% and a 44% score for Stefanik.
“Elise Stefanik is NOT a good spokesperson for the House Republican Conference. She is a liberal with a 35% CFGF lifetime rating, 4th worst in the House GOP,” added the conservative group Club for Growth, citing its own metrics. “House Republicans should find a conservative to lead messaging and win back the House Majority.”
CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP
Stefanik, notably, lives in a much more moderate district than Cheney’s bright-red Wyoming. Plus, many have noted, the position of conference chair is more about messaging than actual votes, and Stefanik’s “one team” approach, her supporters say, is better for Republicans.
“We all need to be working as one if we’re able to win the majority,” McCarthy said on “Fox & Friends” this week. “And that’s about the message about going forward, combating Joe Biden.”
McCarthy continued to say that Republicans should “all work together instead of attacking one another.”
Fox News’ Chad Pergram contributed to this report.