Politics As Stefanik replaces Cheney, Democrats want to keep spotlight on Trump
Who is Elise Stefanik, favorite to replace Liz Cheney?
New York Rep. Elise Stefanik has emerged as the likeliest choice to replace House Republican Conference Chairwoman Liz Cheney, the No. 3 House Republican. © Provided by Washington Examiner House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, the No. 2 House Republican, publicly backed Stefanik, and Pennsylvania Republican Rep. Guy Reschenthaler is actively whipping votes to make her the new conference chairwoman. And former President Donald Trump backed Stefanik to replace Cheney on Wednesday. "Elise Stefanik is a far superior choice, and she has my COMPLETE and TOTAL Endorsement for GOP Conference Chair.
The installation of Rep. Elise Stefanik as chairwoman of the House Republican Conference was intended to put the focus back on combating President Joe Biden’s agenda rather than relitigating former President Donald Trump. But Democrats, and some in the media, are not going to make it easy to move on.
In the immediate aftermath of Stefanik’s election, many pointed out that the New York Republican has lower ratings from national conservative groups than either Cheney or Rep. Chip Roy, the Texas lawmaker she defeated en route to becoming the third-ranking Republican in the House.
How Elise Stefanik – Liz Cheney's likely GOP leadership replacement – went from moderate to MAGA
The reason is simple: Stefanik has shown unwavering personal allegiance to Trump over the past 18 months; Cheney has not. Cheney’s op-ed came after Trump blasted out a statement saying, “Elise Stefanik is a far superior choice, and she has my COMPLETE and TOTAL endorsement for GOP Conference Chair.” The fact that nearly every member of the GOP caucus is reportedly prepared to follow the former president’s lead is perhaps the most dramatic illustration yet of how little policy or ideology matters in today’s Republican Party. What matters is loyalty to Trump. Stefanik isn’t even a particularly long-standing loyalist. A native of Albany, N.Y.
Specifically, Stefanik has a lifetime American Conservative Union rating of 44% to Cheney’s 78% and Roy’s 95%. Heritage Action scored Stefanik’s voting record at 48% to Roy’s 96%. Stefanik was more supportive of Trump’s 2020 election claims than either Cheney or Roy and received the former president’s endorsement in the leadership race.
Shortly before her removal as conference chairwoman, Trump blasted Cheney as “a poor leader, a major Democrat talking point, a warmonger, and a person with absolutely no personality or heart.” He later added that she was “a bitter, horrible human being” who would soon be a “Paid Contributor on CNN or MSDNC,” the latter a reference to the cable news network MSNBC.
Beach Day! Harry Styles, Emma Corrin and David Dawson Frolic on Set: Pics
Walking in the sand! Harry Styles, Emma Corrin and David Dawson were photographed filming some beach scenes for their upcoming movie My Policeman, and they looked like they were having an absolute blast. The trio were spotted on Friday, May 7, frolicking in the waves in East Sussex, U.K., dressed in period costumes and grinning widely. The “Fine Line” singer, 27, wore teal shorts, a white top and gray vest, while the Crown alum, 25, sported a yellow skirt and striped blouse. Dawson, 38, donned orange shorts, a white tee and a blue button-down. Between shots, the group laughed and relaxed together, with Styles putting on an oversize coat. Apparently, the weather was not quite as warm as their costumes made it seem. In the 1950s-set movie, the former One Direction member plays a gay policeman named Tom who carries on a secret relationship with museum curator Patrick (Dawson) while being married to Marion (Corrin). Based on a novel of the same name by Bethan Roberts, the film is directed by Michael Grandage, who is primarily known for his work in the theater. Styles made his acting debut in 2017’s Dunkirk, to the delight of 1D fans everywhere. His costar Mark Rylance, an Oscar and Tony winner, said at the time that his 11-year-old niece was more impressed by his Styles connection than she had ever been by the rest of his career. “She was just more excited than anything I’ve ever done because I was going to be acting with Harry Styles,” the actor, 61, told the Associated Press.
Trump later said he couldn’t “imagine” House Republicans would elect Roy, who he said “has not done a great job, and will probably be successfully primaried in his own district.” He concluded, “I support Elise, by far, over Chip!”
“This does keep the spotlight on Trump, which he is an expert in doing,” said a Republican strategist. “It will be up to Elise, and the rest of the leadership team, to shine the light where it belongs.”
Stefanik was elected in large part because she is viewed as an effective television communicator who is a team player with good message discipline. These characteristics are viewed as assets as the GOP seeks to wipe out narrow Democratic majorities to win back control of Congress in next year’s midterm elections.
Cheney’s vote to impeach Trump was accepted as an act of conscience by most of the Republican conference when there was a previous attempt to oust her earlier this year, closer to the events of Jan. 6. She began to hemorrhage support, including from fellow members of leadership, as Republicans concluded she was unable to move on from Trump as the midterm elections approached.
The 'Handmaiden of Trump': How Elise Stefanik Went From Moderate to MAGA
Stefanik is expected to ascend to House GOP conference chair by lashing herself to a cause that undermines the democratic processToday Stefanik is still a politician on the rise, but for very different reasons. As soon as next week, she is widely expected to ascend to the position of House GOP conference chair, which would make her the highest-ranking Republican woman in Congress. And she will have gotten there by lashing herself to a cause that undermines the same democratic process she once hoped to strengthen.
But the clear political upside of Stefanik’s embrace of Trump, who has continued to claim the 2020 election was rigged against him or even stolen, has opened up obvious lines of attack for Democrats. It also raises questions about whether internal GOP pushback against what Trump is saying, which could serve to keep Stefanik and company talking about Trump.
“They’ll need to be very savvy in how they deal with this,” said a Republican consultant in Washington, D.C. “The press will try to bait them into talking about Trump as much as Liz Cheney, just from the opposite direction.”
Further complicating the party’s Trump calculus is the fact that he is keeping open the possibility of running again in 2024 in hopes of becoming the first president to serve nonconsecutive terms since Grover Cleveland. He has remained an active commentator on public events large and small, weighing in Friday on the television punditry of Republican operative and longtime George W. Bush adviser Karl Rove, issuing statements through his office and political action committee that are reminiscent of his banned Twitter account.
Liz Cheney: House Republicans are preparing to oust No. 3 leader this week. Here's what to watch.
House Republicans could vote as early as Wednesday to replace Rep. Liz Cheney as GOP conference chair, a move that would underscore former President Donald Trump's firm grip on the party months after leaving office. © Drew Angerer/Getty Images WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 14: Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) attends a press conference following a House Republican caucus meeting on Capitol Hill on April 14, 2021 in Washington, DC. The House Republican members spoke about their recent trip to the southern border and the surge of migrant children entering the United States.
“Democrats want the 2022 elections to be about Trump,” said the Republican consultant. “We don’t, or at least shouldn’t.”
Democratic leaders hailed Cheney as a martyr sacrificed for Trump. “It's disturbing to see any leader regardless of party being attacked for simply speaking the truth, and as the president said last week, it's hard to understand,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer called her removal a “dark moment” for Republicans and said she “had the courage to tell the truth.”
“Congresswoman Liz Cheney is a leader of great courage, patriotism, and integrity. Today, House Republicans declared that those values are unwelcome in the Republican party,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement after the GOP conference vote. “For the sake of our democracy, reasonable Republicans across the country must take back their party.”
The leadership vote came as Republicans were trying to block the Democrats’ sweeping election reform bill, which has been taken up by the Senate, and negotiate with the Biden administration on an infrastructure package.
Trump remains a unifying figure for Democrats in opposition. “He is the glue that holds the coalition together,” said a Democratic strategist, referring to the range of suburbanites to Bernie Sanders supporters who voted for Biden last year.
Liz Cheney live updates: House Republicans expected to vote on removing her from leadership
The vote is the result of weeks of drama among House Republicans, some who see Rep. Liz Cheney's criticism of Donald Trump as a distraction.Cheney, the third most-powerful House Republican, has angered some in the party for her repeated criticism of Trump and his claim the 2020 election was stolen from him. A vote behind closed doors and by secret ballot is scheduled for Wednesday morning.
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With Liz Cheney removed as House GOP chair, what's next? .
The first order of business will be to replace Cheney, and it looks like Rep. Elise Stefanik will step into that role.Wednesday's decision by House Republicans to remove the Wyoming congresswoman as chair of the House GOP Conference is only the beginning of a new chapter for a party that hopes to recapture Congress in 2022 after making key gains in November's elections.