Maybe McCarthy thinks that feeding Cheney's carcass to the ravenous and insatiable Trumpist crocodiles will make his crossing of the river that stands between himself as a barely-known minority leader to speaker, smooth-- or even possible. Maybe. More a wind-sniffer than a leader of any kind, he's openly backing uber-ambitious Trumpist ass-licker Elise Stefanik in her-- and Trump's-- quest to oust Liz Cheney. Cheney gets sacrificed on Wednesday in a secret vote of the House Republican conference. The result-- they're canceling her-- is not in question. Last night, Amy Wang and Around Demirjian reported that "polls show the support for Trump-- and his election falsehoods-- is deep and broad in the Republican electorate. Across the country, local and state party organizations have sided with the former president and moved to censure or otherwise punish officials who have attacked Trump. Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT), a vocal Trump critic, was booed by a Republican audience in his home state."
McCarthy’s official support of Cheney’s removal is the latest sign of how the GOP is purging from its leadership anyone seen as opponents of Trump, solidifying the former president’s grip on the party. The Washington Post reported that the National Republican Congressional Committee, in recent polling presentations to its members, had left out key polling data about Trump’s weakness in some districts, indicating a willingness to downplay damage the former president could do to the party. Instead, fealty to Trump -- and to his baseless claims that the election was stolen-- has become the defining loyalty test for Republicans.
Some Republicans-- the few still capable of independent thought-- have had to twist themselves into pretzels to back Trump's Bill Lie and join his bizarre cult. Reporting for the NY Times on the illegal Arizona "recount" yesterday, Michael Wines quoted Arizona state Senator Paul Boyer, a suburban Maricopa County Republican, who originally voted for the absurd audit, saying on Friday that "It makes us look like idiots." True enough. "Looking back, I didn’t think it would be this ridiculous. It’s embarrassing to be a state senator at this point."
According to ProgressivePunch, the House Republicans most likely to back progressive initiatives roll call votes are Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Thomas Massie (R-KY), John Katko (R-NY), Chris Smith (R-NJ), Elise Stefanik (R-NY), Morgan Griffith (R-VA), Jeff Van Drew (R-NY) and Tom McClintock (R-CA), an odd mix of libertarians, union supporters, an ex-Democrat and a some mainstream conservatives still unwilling to flow with the fascist tide that has swamped their party. Only one of them, though, John Katko-- who holds the bluest district of any House Republican, one in which Trump garnered just 44% of the vote to Biden's 53% last year-- voted to impeach Trump. Voting to impeach a member of your own party is quite the step. The 10 Republicans who did so on Jan. 13 made up a unique club: the most House members from a president’s party to vote to remove him from office... ever.
This morning, Jacqueline Alemany and Marianna Sotomayor reported for the Washington Post how The 'GOP Impeachment 10' Try To Navigate Cheney's Demise And Their Own Futures. Each now has to deal with the fallout from their vote. Cheney and Kinzinger have doubled down and bet the house on it. Their careers are on the line, as they both aggressively and unapologetically continue to push back on Trump's Big Lie, a Big Lie that their constituents believe. Most of them though, have tried to keep a low profile and hope they can slip by-- fat chance! Trump wants their heads and he will likely have most of them in primaries next year.
“He revels in score-settling, so most of these folks have smartly just tried to keep their heads down. Cheney has taken a different approach, and while it’s super commendable, he will take great pleasure in seeing her removed from power,” Brendan Buck, who served as an adviser under House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), said of Trump. “They’ll all have targets on their back, but Cheney really sent up a flare to attract his ire, and I’m sure they’re watching and learning.”
...Mutual respect for casting a consequential vote has bonded the 10 pro-impeachment House Republicans, as has the backlash they have received for rebuking Trump. Eight of the 10 have been censured by the Republican Party in their states, with Gonzalez most recently being admonished and facing calls to resign.
In the early days after the vote, some of the 10 flirted with the idea of banding together to make joint statements on consequential issues, believing they could have influence based on their moral authority.
...Although they never did much as a group once it became clear that opposing Trump was increasingly treacherous, some of these lawmakers, or aides familiar with their views, said the takedown of Cheney has been demoralizing to watch.
“I think it’s very much viewed as a massive defeat,” said one of the 10 lawmakers, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to share candid views in a tense political climate. “Having someone in leadership was validation and proof . . . that even though Trump was attacking us, we still have leadership backing us and are allowed to survive within the conference.”
The 10 who voted to impeach Trump were Reps. Cheney, Kinzinger, Gonzalez, Herrera Beutler, Meijer, John Katko, Fred Upton, Dan Newhouse , Tom Rice and David Valadao. Many of them, with the exception of Cheney, represent competitive districts. She faces a primary challenge fueled by Trump’s call to get rid of her. Seven Senate Republicans voted to convict Trump, but they have been given more slack by their Senate peers, and only one, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), is up for reelection next year and faces a Trump-backed challenger.
Most of the 10 House lawmakers stand at a crossroads in figuring out how to navigate the reality that their party has embraced Trump’s falsehoods and their own political futures and consciences.
Even those who have publicly voiced support for Cheney have said privately that they find it difficult that a majority of their colleagues do not want to acknowledge Trump’s role in undermining democracy, but also find it counterproductive to constantly attack him.
“It’s not entirely effective to go after Donald Trump every time he puts out a statement because we understand he’s a force in the Republican Party,” said a Republican aide who works for one of the 10 members and, like others, spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not allowed to speak on the record. “When pure falsehoods are said, you have to call that out, but at the same time, doing so repeatedly gets you into this vicious cycle where eventually constituents will really start to wonder, ‘What are you actually focusing on and doing in Congress?’ ”
Many Republicans loyal to Trump said over the past week that their problem with Cheney wasn’t her vote to impeach, but her decision to continue challenging the former president, which they referred to as a “distraction” or “unproductive.” They have ignored the fact that Trump frequently brings up his election loss and hardly seems ready to move on. Party leaders have given him a pass because, they have said, they cannot win back the House without Trump and his base of supporters strongly involved.
Neither McCarthy nor Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) have recently told the other nine to fall in line, but the message from leadership is clear: You will not be punished for your Jan. 13 vote, but making an issue of it and antagonizing Trump will not be tolerated.
This message has been underscored with one of the purest expressions of love and support on Capitol Hill-- campaign cash. Leadership PACs associated with McCarthy have contributed to the reelection campaigns of Katko, Meijier, Valadao, Upton, Gonzalez and Herrera Beutler. McCarthy has every incentive to see those members-- who are mostly from swing districts-- reelected, in hopes they will support him for speaker if Republicans win the House.
...Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN), leader of the conservative Republican Study Committee, was one of the first in recent weeks to publicly suggest that Cheney head for the exits, but he has also made clear that there is a place in the party for members who embrace its agenda, while minimizing their impeachment vote. He pointed to Rice as an example of someone who has traveled this path and has embraced Banks’s argument that the party needs to fully embrace the working-class voters who went for Trump.
Rice’s vote to impeach was a surprise, and he has been mostly quiet about it. He was the only one of the 10 not to sign the letter to Pelosi about the Iowa race.
In a statement to the Washington Post, Rice credited Trump for hastening the move of White working-class voters to the GOP but said he continues to support keeping Cheney in her post.
“I support Liz Cheney. She is a very good leader, thoughtful and strong. She has a right to her opinion regarding President Trump. Her opinion has nothing to do with her qualification as our conference chair,” Rice added.
Other members have avoided getting involved in the Cheney fight, while making clear they are on board with moving forward when she is gone.
“If something happens with Liz-- and that remains to be seen-- but if it does and [Stefanik] puts her name into the ring, I will absolutely support her,” Katko said on a call with reporters Friday. “She knows that if we ever want to be back in control of Congress again, people like me have to win and we have to flourish and we have to have a big tent as the Republican Party.”
Valadao’s office said it “will not be responding” to questions about whether he will support Cheney staying in leadership during Wednesday’s closed caucus vote. The offices of Upton and Newhouse did not respond to a request for comment.
Kinzinger continues to work the cable news and Sunday morning news circuits, but the scope of his influence remains unclear.
“They’re going to get rid of Liz Cheney because they’d much rather pretend that the conspiracy is either real or not confront it than to actually confront it and maybe have to take the temporary licks to save this party and the long-term of this country,” Kinzinger said Sunday morning on CBS News’s Face the Nation.
Kinzinger also told Face the Nation viewers that the GOP was like the Titanic, slowly sinking while the band played on-- with Trump running around looking for women's clothing so he can get into the first lifeboat. Kinzinger is a dyed-in-the-wool conservative whose district is likely to be gerrymandered out of existence by the Democratic-controlled Illinois legislature but who would be more likely than any of the others to switch to the Democratic Party... or try to run statewide as either a Republican or an independent. I think the only two likely to win their primaries next year are Katko and Newhouse and I think if the Democrats nominate a strong candidate for Katko's seat, he would likely lose the general election, especially if Trump, Jr. tells Trumpist voters to sit on their hands.
30 Republicans are actively whipping votes against Cheney, mostly far right nuts including Patrick McHenry (NC), Devin Nunes (CA), Lance Gooden (TX), Pete Stauber (MN), Claudia Tenney (NY) and Guy Reschenthaler (PA). Although she denies it, there is a rumor circulating on Capitol Hill that since she has virtually no chance to win the 2022 primary-- essentially against Trump-- she will retire from the House. GOP Cancel Culture is a very real and very ugly thing.
Joni Ernst (R-IA), the only woman in the Senate GOP leadership spoke out on Cheney's impending lynching Wednesday: "I feel it's OK to go ahead and express what you feel is right to express and, you know, cancel culture is cancel culture no matter how you look at it. Unfortunately, I think there are those that are trying to silence others in the party... I still think we shouldn't be trying to cancel voices."