EXCLUSIVE: House Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik Details Her Efforts To Have Liz Cheney Removed From Leadership
House Republican Conference Chair Rep. Elise Stefanik says she helped remove Republican Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney as chair of the GOP House conference because Cheney used the position in order to promote herself to the media as an anti-Trump Republican.
“We saw very quickly that she was about promoting herself, and that is not the role of the conference chair. Nor are you entitled to these positions as an elected representative for your constituents or some elected representative from your colleagues, no matter what your last name is. I don’t have a vice president of a father. I have the best father in the world who is my dad, who is a small business owner. But I think there’s a sense of entitlement that members saw very clearly that came out starting in January of last year. And even before that, there were trends in that direction,” the New York Republican said.
Stefanik’s comments came in an exclusive interview with the Daily Caller about efforts to counter Cheney as she gained prominence last year. Stefanik says it wasn’t just self-promotion, but said Cheney was not connected with the GOP’s base and was trying to promote herself through her position as conference chair by talking negatively about the president and putting her own anti-trump views in front of the conference and the media.
“Those months when she doubled down on attacking Republicans, attacking President Trump showed just how out of touch she was, not only with her constituents, but with the American people and with the Republican Party. It became clear when members just started calling me, it was members calling me from all across the conference, not fellow members of leadership, just rank and file members who felt that there needed to be a change. I called Kevin McCarthy and said I was interested in running for this position and I started making members calls. So and I’m proud of that,” Stefanik continued.
She also commented that fellow Republicans began calling her saying there needed to be a change in leadership.
Stefanik noted that former President Donald Trump, who she speaks to often, was “instrumental” in supporting her and pushing for a change in House leadership.
Cheney was removed from her leadership position by a voice vote in May 2021. Behind closed doors, Republicans voted Cheney out as the third-ranking House Republican.
Cheney, who is up for reelection in 2022, has continued to face criticism for voting in favor of impeaching Trump. The Wyoming Republican Party censured her in February over her impeachment vote.
Cheney has continued to be vocal about her disdain of the former president. Meanwhile, Stefanik says she appreciates Trump for understanding she was the right person to lead the conference.
“I speak with President Trump directly, often about policy issues. You know, when I went to the border, I talked about that. I talked about issues coming up in my district where we need to go as a country and as a party. He thinks we’ve done an incredible job leading the conference. He was instrumental in supporting me and knowing we needed to make a change. But I appreciate him understanding it needed to be the right person at the right time to unify the conference,” Stefanik said.
Stefanik then mentioned her PAC, Elevate PAC (E-PAC), and how she is working to have “America First” candidates elected to Congress. In 2020, Stefanik led the effort to help elect the highest number of Republican women to Congress ever in U.S. history. In 2020, E-PAC also helped more than double the number of GOP women in Congress, something Trump called, “The Year of the Republican Women.” (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: ‘Historic Year For Republicans’ — A Look Inside House Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik’s Efforts To Win Back The Majority
Stefanik also said that she and Trump try to work as a team as much as possible when it comes to endorsements.
“We have those open lines of communication. I ultimately make the decision of who I endorse. You know, sometimes in the case of Sarah Palin, President Trump was earlier than me. Sometimes we’re earlier than him. But it’s a positive working relationship with President Trump’s political operation,” she said. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: McCarthy Explains Why He Hasn’t Kicked Out Liz Cheney, Adam Kinzinger From Republican Conference)
“We try to work as much as a team as possible,” Stefanik added.
In March, the Daily Caller broke the news that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and over 100 Republicans from Congress would be supporting Cheney’s primary opponent, Harriet Hageman.