“This idea that you just disregard President [Donald] Trump is not where we are,” Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) said on Friday during an interview with Axios. “And frankly, he has a lot to offer still and has offered a lot. He wants to help us win the House back.”
The House Minority Whip said Cheney’s anti-Trump narrative is sending out the wrong message and giving the public the false impression that the Republican Party is deeply divided.
Scalise said that the GOP is “very unified” on its policy agenda.
“I do think we’ve got to focus on what it’s going to take to get the House back and present conservative alternatives to this far-left socialist movement we’re seeing. Those were the conversations we were having,” the House number two Republican stated. “We were very unified by the way.”
Scalise emphasized that Trump is still a very active and vocal leader of the Republican Party.
“He brought millions of people off the sidelines in 2016 that never voted for Republicans or Democrats who really embraced his message and he delivered for those hardworking and forgotten men and women,” he added.
Scalise’s remarks came after Cheney, the House Republican Conference Chairwoman, continued a pattern of criticizing Trump and downplaying his influence during the annual GOP legislative retreat recently held in Orlando, Florida.
On April 26, Cheney responded to a reporter asking her what role she would like to see the former president take in Republicans’ attempt to regain control of the House and Senate in 2022.
“I think right now, the Republican Party is headed by Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy in the House. I think our elected leaders are the ones who are in charge of the Republican Party,” Cheney said, referring to the Senate and House minority leaders.
McCarthy criticized Cheney’s remarks as a distraction.
“If you’re sitting here at a retreat that’s focused on policy, focused on the future of making America next-century, and you’re talking about something else, you’re not being productive,” he told reporters.
However, Cheney refused to walk back her criticism, saying “it matters hugely to the survival of the country.”
More Republicans have since spoken out against Cheney’s public dismissal of Trump, some even question her leadership role in the party.
“Her lack of focus on that, while being focused on other things, and proving her point, was an unwelcome distraction,” Rep Jim Banks (R-Ind.) told Axios. “The sort of sideline distractions at the GOP retreat will only serve to hold us back from being focused on that nearly unanimous goal we have as a conference.”
Rep. Lance Gooden (R-Texas) went further, predicting that Cheney’s leadership role will be terminated before the end of May.
“PREDICTION: she’ll be out of her GOP leadership role by month’s end!” he wrote in a Twitter post.
The Epoch Times reached out to Cheney and McCarthy for comments.
Masooma Haq contributed to the report.