House GOP leaders show little appetite to punish Cheney over January 6 flap

No final decision has been made, but several top Republicans made clear they see targeting Cheney as a distraction as the party seeks to focus its message on the Biden agenda in an effort to take back the House next year.

On Thursday, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and House Minority Whip Steve Scalise both sidestepped questions about whether Cheney should be punished in any way — a sign that the issue was not actively considered at this time. He is going.

“I hope she will look into the actions that Speaker Pelosi took which was unprecedented and really go against what Liz has said and walk away from the committee because it has no credibility and why would anyone want to get involved? ” Scalise told CNN, did not respond directly when asked whether Cheney should face any consequences.

McCarthy, who suggested to a group of GOP freshmen late last month that anyone who accepted a selection committee assignment from Pelosi could lose another committee spot, said Thursday that “our main The focus is to make sure we stop the runaway inflation caused by the Democrats,” Cheney asked about the consequences.

“I think it’s a conference decision,” McCarthy told reporters.

Cheney was already removed from the GOP leadership earlier this year after lying to former President Donald Trump over his lie that November’s election was stolen from him. But Republicans can still remove him from the House Armed Services Committee or remove him from the entire GOP convention, which would then require two-thirds of the support from the convention.

While attending a lunch with GOP freshmen at the Monocle restaurant on Capitol Hill last month, McCarthy briefly pitched the idea of ​​stripping any Republicans from his committee if he asked Pelosi to serve on the January 6 panel. accepted the offer. McCarthy insisted that it was nothing in Congress to take over any committee from the opposition, but later told reporters he was not threatening Cheney.

Now, Republicans aren’t willing to go that far with Cheney — or Potential GOP Representative Adam Kizinger If Pelosi names him to serve on the panel – at least not yet.

“We have many other issues that we have to deal with,” said Georgia Representative Drew Ferguson, a member of the GOP leadership. “We don’t have to worry about what color to paint the fire hydrant.”

“We’ve got more important things to focus on,” added another senior House Republican.

Republicans instead say they plan to portray Cheney as a hypocrite, when she said this year that Pelosi had “no business determining which Republicans sit on which committees”. Democrats Vote to Remove GOP Representative Marjorie Taylor Green from Her Committee Tasks The once more controversial remarks of the Georgia freshman came to the fore.
But on Wednesday Cheney joined After Pelosi rejects McCarthy’s selection Representative K. The inclusion of Jim Jordan of Ohio and Jim Banks of Indiana to serve on the selection committee prompted the GOP leader to withdraw all five of his selections to the scrutiny panel.

Asked about the difference between the two situations, Cheney said on Thursday: “We had a violent attack on the United States.” And she noted that Jordan may have been a “physical witness,” given her conversation with Trump on January 6, while she criticized Banks for issuing a partisan statement that she said was “unqualified.” .

Still, there are a handful of conservative Republicans, including Reps Scott Perry of Pennsylvania and Ralph Norman of South Carolina, who are agitating for Cheney to face the repercussions.

“Calling @RepStefanik to convene a special GOP conference to address appropriate measures in relation to the Select Committee assignment on January 6th,” Perry tweeted. “Speaker Pelosi’s efforts to pile up this committee will not go unchecked.”

And Republicans throughout the convention have lashed out at Cheney in statements, interviews and tweets — including Banks, who has taken a steady stream of pot shots at Cheney since he was rejected by Pelosi from serving on the select committee. .

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“I’m not happy with her. I don’t think she’s doing anything that’s good for our party,” Texas conservative GOP representative Ronnie Jackson, Trump’s former doctor at the White House, told CNN.

But even some of Cheney’s staunch critics, such as Jordan, said the decision to punish him is ultimately up to the Republican leadership – though he said he would be “100%” supportive if McCarthy took that path.

Still, there seems to be no movement within the convention to punish Cheney—especially since many Republicans think Cheney’s political career is dead anyway and don’t feel the need to take a further blow to his reputation.

Texas Representative Louis Gohart, a loyal ally of Trump, stopped short of calling for any penalties for Cheney. “Republicans are out of committee. So, whatever she wants to do, but Republicans are already closed.”

Representative Jason Smith, a Missouri Republican, also would not call Cheney to face any sanctions.

“Every member can do their job,” Smith said. But he added: “I think what he did was completely unfair and wrong.”

CNN’s Morgan Rimmer contributed to this report.


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