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House Republicans air grievances against Liz Cheney over support for Dr. Fauci and splitting with Trump

Posted at 11:10 AM, Jul 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-21 13:10:31-04

Several House Republicans attacked House GOP Conference Chairwoman Liz Cheney of Wyoming for supporting Dr. Anthony Fauci and splitting with President Donald Trump on a variety of issues over the past few months during a conference meeting Tuesday morning, a member who was in the room told CNN.

Members including GOP Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio, Matt Gaetz of Florida, Thomas Massie of Kentucky, Chip Roy of Texas, Andy Biggs of Arizona, Scott Perry of Pennsylvania and Ralph Norman of South Carolina all chimed in to air grievances against Cheney.

Gaetz and Massie complained about Cheney supporting a primary challenge to Massie, the source said. And Jordan, the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, listed different areas where Cheney has publicly disagreed with the President.

Roy, a Texas Republican, specifically hit Cheney for supporting Fauci and complained that his Democratic opponent has retweeted some of Cheney's tweets.

Politico's Melanie Zanona first reported the details of the conversation.

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, Cheney has taken a different tone than the President. When Trump claimed he had total authority to lift restrictions governors imposed on their states to limit the spread of the virus, Cheney hit back on Twitter: "The federal government does not have absolute power."

Cheney also pushed back when Trump was considering ending lockdowns for the sake of the economy in March.

"There will be no normally functioning economy if our hospitals are overwhelmed and thousands of Americans of all ages, including our doctors and nurses, lay dying because we have failed to do what's necessary to stop the virus," she wrote.

She has also publicly differed from the President on several foreign affairs and military matters, such as withdrawing troops in Afghanistan and Germany.

The member who spoke with CNN about the exchange said the conference meeting was "off the chain" and that Republicans haven't had a conference like that since former Rep. John Boehner of Ohio was speaker.

"Jim Jordan destroyed Liz," the member, who was not involved in the pile-on, said.

He said Cheney fought back, saying she is supportive of Trump's agenda and sniping at Jordan for talking about how to be a team player. Jordan was a founding member of the Freedom Caucus, a group that clashed with GOP leadership for years. It appeared to members that GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy stepped in to try to get her to stop responding.

"This was not just, 'Getting something off my chest.' This will have lingering effects," the source said.

He described the meeting as "painful."

Cheney told CNN after the meeting that members had "a healthy exchange of views" and it is clear "we are all unified in recognizing the danger the country would face if Joe Biden were elected president."

She said her and Massie are "in a good place, we've chatted."