Rep. Chip Roy (R-T) a member of the House Freedom Caucus, told Republican lawmakers in a memo Tuesday that they should consider leaving the GOP conference chair leadership position vacant after ousting Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) from the role.
In the memo, Roy made clear that he believes removing Cheney as conference chair is the correct decision, but then called out Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) — who has been vying for the leadership position — and argued that Republicans must avoid installing someone who campaigns with the GOP but then votes to advance the Democratic agenda in office.
“Consider your response if I asked if you would — setting aside any friendship or personal feelings about him or her — support a colleague with the following record to be our spokesperson,” Roy wrote, who then listed off portions of Stefanik’s record, including:
- Opposition to the Trump tax cuts of 2017
- Support for an amendment overriding Trump’s transgender troops policy
- Voting for the Equality Act the first time it was introduced (voting against in 2021)
- Voting to ban drilling in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico
- Voting for the “Delivering for America Act — playing into Democratic Party conspiracy theory that President Trump was trying to destroy the post office”
- Voting to override Trump’s border wall funding through SJ Res 54
- Co-sponsoring “permanent status for Dreamers without any actual badly needed border security to stem the tide of the crisis” in the 115th Congress
After arguing Stefanik was not a good choice for the position, Roy suggested that Republicans either coalesce around a candidate with conservative values or consider leaving the position vacant.
Stefanik, who has support from Trump, told reporters that she has support from other members of the Freedom Caucus and others, reports POLITICO. If Cheney were ousted and Stefanik chosen to replace her, Stefanik has said she will only serve one term.
Roy originally opposed removing Cheney from leadership after she voted to impeach former President Donald Trump. However, Roy later argued that Cheney should be removed for making comments “completely out of step of the Republican conference.”
“You cannot stand up and make a statement that is so completely out of step of the Republican conference where the American people who support President Trump are,” Roy said in late February, per CNN. “I think it is unfortunate she made those remarks, I think it was shortsighted, but I also think it was purposeful and I think that’s the problem.”
Cheney has given no indication she plans to step down, and recently defended herself in a Washington Post op-ed amidst the threat to her position.
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. I have worked overseas in nations where changes in leadership come only with violence, where democracy takes hold only until the next violent upheaval. America is exceptional because our constitutional system guards against that. At the heart of our republic is a commitment to the peaceful transfer of power among political rivals in accordance with law. President Ronald Reagan described this as our American “miracle.”
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. Trump has never expressed remorse or regret for the attack of Jan. 6 and now suggests that our elections, and our legal and constitutional system, cannot be trusted to do the will of the people. This is immensely harmful, especially as we now compete on the world stage against Communist China and its claims that democracy is a failed system.
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