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Republicans approve Stefanik as Cheney's replacement in House leadership

Rep. Elise Stefanik
Posted at 3:06 AM, May 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-14 09:32:04-04

House Republicans have formally approved Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York to replace Rep. Liz Cheney as the House Republican Conference Chair, according to the Associated Press.

The private vote affirming Stefanik’s place in congressional leadership took place Friday morning.

Earlier this week, Republicans voted to remove Cheney — the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney — from her role in House leadership. Cheney is a staunch critic of former President Donald Trump and was one of just 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach him following the Jan. 6 riots at the U.S. Capitol.

Even though House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy backed Cheney shortly after the impeachment vote, Cheney has continued to break with the mainstream Republican party, especially when it comes to spreading false claims of voter fraud in the 2020 election. Cheney has consistently criticized Trump and her Republican colleagues for continuing to push such falsities.

Following her ouster from leadership on Wednesday, Cheney said she remained committed to purging Trump's influence from the Republican party.

"I am absolutely committed, as I said last night and as I said just now to my colleagues, that we must go forward based on truth," Cheney said following the vote. "We cannot both embrace the ‘big lie’ and embrace the Constitution."

By contrast, Stefanik, currently serving in her fourth term in office, entered Congress as a moderate in 2015 but rose to national prominence via her defense of Trump during his first impeachment trial in late 2019. Her biting criticisms of the Democrats' case for impeachment made her a star in conservative circles and put her on a fast track to party leadership.

McCarthy and other Republicans hope that presenting a united front in opposition to President Joe Biden's agenda will appeal to conservative voters and lead to Republicans taking back control of the House and Senate in the 2022 midterm elections.