Wider GOP Feud Seen in Gaetz-Cheney Spat

January 27, 2021
In The News

The ongoing spat between two Republican members of Congress over support of former President Donald Trump is a microcosm of the larger issue facing the Grand Old Party's establishment and its MAGA base, the Washington Examiner notes.

Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo. daughter to former Vice President Dick Cheney, amped things up when she announced she would be voting with the majority Democrats to impeach Trump earlier this month. Nine more Republicans joined her, and her role as third-ranking in party leadership in the House might have given some of them the freedom to do so.

That has led to calls to oust her from her leadership position. And none of those calls have been louder than from Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla. Gaetz will make his way to Wyoming this weekend for a rally in Cheyenne, where he might urge her to step down from leadship.

Cheney mostly sided with Trump during his four years in office, but was critical of his response to the Jan. 6 storming of the Capitol Building as Democrat Joe Biden's electoral victory was being certified.

Gaetz, a loyal Trump supporter, stuck by Trump even after the attack on the Capitol, and voted with the majority of House Republicans against impeachment.

When Gaetz announced he was headed to Wyoming as part of his efforts to oust Cheney from leadership, Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., who also voted for impeachment, tweeted:

"To be clear here, some in the Freedom Club (not all, some) have been trying to #cancel @RepLizCheney for years. She doesn't bend to their intimidation, because after all, they aren't that intimidating."

Gaetz fired back:

"Truth here from Rep. Kinzinger. I thought Liz should have departed after backing the primary opponent of @RepThomasMassie. Instead, she told us we are all clear to campaign against one another in primaries. So that's what may happen. I don't find it intimidating at all."

Cheney and others in the party unsuccessfully backed a primary opponent of Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., after he forced the House to return to vote on a coronavirus relief package at the beginning of the pandemic. Now, she faces at least one primary challenger herself.

While not saying he supports her ouster from leadership, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., has called Cheney's recent moves concerning.

"She never told me ahead of time," McCarthy told The Hill. "One thing about leadership, if we're going to work together, we should understand. We know that this is going to become a difficulty."