The establishment wing of the Republican party voted in favor of keeping Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) as the chair of the GOP conference, beating back an attempt from the pro-Trump Republicans who sought to punish her for voting to impeach President Donald Trump, multiple outlets reported on Wednesday.
The 145–61 secret ballot vote means Cheney will remain the most powerful Republican woman in Congress even as she faces the prospect of a primary challenge funded by a pro-Trump political action committee. According to The Hill, the vote followed a heated meeting held in the basement of the Capitol Visitors Center during which dozens of House Republicans expressed their frustrations with Cheney.
House Freedom Caucus Chairman Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) and Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-Mont.) drafted the resolution against Cheney. Biggs and Rosendale argued that Cheney does not deserve a leadership role after attacking the leader of the Republican party.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) rallied support for Cheney, arguing in favor of ending the internal feud and keeping his leadership team intact.
“People can have differences of opinion,” McCarthy said, according to The Hill. “Liz has a right to vote her conscience. And at the end of the day we’ll be united.”
Cheney told reporters after the meeting: “We really did have a terrific vote tonight, a terrific time this evening laying out what we’re going to do going forward as well as making clear that we’re not going to be divided and that we’re not going to be in a situation where people can pick off any member of leadership.”
Cheney was one of ten Republicans who voted to impeach Trump for a single count of inciting an insurrection. The other Republicans who voted with the Democrats were: Anthony Gonzalez (Ohio), Jaime Herrera Beutler (Wash.), John Katko (N.Y.), Adam Kinzinger (Ill.), Peter Meijer (Mich.), Dan Newhouse (Wash.), Tom Rice (S.C.), Fred Upton (Mich.), and David Valadao (Calif.).
Cheney blasted Trump in a statement leading up to the impeachment vote, fully siding with the Democrat allegation that the president incited the mob which attacked the Capitol on Jan. 6. In his speech on the day of the attack, Trump urged followers to make their voices heard peacefully. After news of the violence broke, Trump disavowed the perpetrators and urged people to go home.
A timeline of the day by The Epoch Times shows that a mob had breached the Capitol building before Trump had finished giving a speech to a his supporters more than a 30-minute walk away.
“The President of the United States summoned this mob, assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack,” Cheney alleged. “Everything that followed was his doing.”
The three top Republicans spoke to the press briefly after the contentious meeting and vote.
“We addressed this as a family, addressed this as a team and ultimately finally worked to have a vote to keep the entire team together and ultimately kept the team much stronger,” McCarthy said. “Because while we aired those grievances, everyone tonight was united.”