House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., stood up for Rep. Liz Cheney Wednesday and decried the House Republicans’ decision to oust her from leadership as a sign that the GOP has turned its back on democracy.
“Congresswoman Liz Cheney is a leader of great courage, patriotism and integrity,” Pelosi said Wednesday after Cheney was removed as GOP conference chairwoman. “Today, House Republicans declared that those values are unwelcome in the Republican party.”
Cheney, R-Wyo., had remained steadfast in her opposition to former President Trump and his “dangerous lies” about the 2020 election being stolen from him — putting her at odds with other House Republicans who wanted to move on from the Jan. 6 riot and unite the party to win in the 2022 midterms.
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Pelosi accused the GOP of trying to whitewash the Jan. 6 attack and she urged Cheney-aligned Republicans to continue to speak out for the truth.
“For the sake of our democracy, reasonable Republicans across the country must take back their party,” Pelosi said.
Cheney was one of 10 Republicans who joined with Democrats in impeaching Trump for inciting the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol to stop the certification of President Biden’s Electoral College victory.
Democrats have routinely praised Cheney’s outspokenness against Trump in the months since, which has rankled GOP members who believe their party leader should be more focused on attacking Democrats than the former president.
Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., said Cheney has been a “patriot” but lamented that “she’s paid a heavy price for it.”
“When Liz Cheney chose patriotism, she was no longer eligible to be a leader in the House Republican conference,” Jeffries said during a news conference Wednesday.
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The Democratic National Committee (DNC) pounced on Cheney’s ouster Wednesday and portrayed the Republican Party as completely surrendering to Trump, whom they’ve dubbed a proven loser.
The DNC intends to project images on the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., Wednesday night that read, “Welcome to the RNC HQ.”
“Today, the Republican Party went all in to fully transform itself into the party of Donald Trump,” DNC Chairman Jaime Harrison said. “House Republicans are making clear their only priority is to defend Trump and his Big Lie, despite the deadly insurrection on the Capitol, and Trump’s dismal approval ratings that the NRCC tried to keep quiet.”
Harrison added: “[GOP Leader] Kevin McCarthy has completely turned over the leadership of his caucus to extremists and conspiracy theorists, and the Republican Party’s dumpster fire has now become a full-blown inferno.”
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Cheney had already survived a vote of no confidence in February, but instead of treading lightly after the warning shot, Cheney continued to double down on her anti-Trump rhetoric, angering her colleagues.
She was removed from her leadership post by voice vote Wednesday in a closed-door meeting and remained defiant on the way out, saying she’ll do everything possible to ensure Trump “never gets anywhere near the Oval Office.”
Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., who led the first impeachment of Trump in the House, marked the occasion by sending out a fundraising email to his campaign supporters seeking donations.
He said Cheney’s removal makes clear that today’s Republican Party only backs Trump’s lies and there’s no room for people of “good conscience.”
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“The dangerous evolution of the Republican Party into an anti-truth, autocratic cult has never been more clear, or our need to fight it,” Schiff wrote in asking supporters to “pitch in” cash to defeat the “party of falsehood.”
The vote on who replaces Cheney as conference chair is expected Friday. Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., has Trump’s endorsement and is expected to win.