A protester holds a Trump flag inside the U.S. Capitol Building near the Senate Chamber on Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington, D.C. Congress held a joint session today to ratify President-elect Joe Biden’s 306-232 Electoral College win over President Donald Trump. A group of Republican senators said they would reject the Electoral College votes of several states unless Congress appointed a commission to audit the election results. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Ashley Hinson of Iowa said Thursday that she backs a move to remove Rep. Liz Cheney from her leadership position in the House GOP, after Cheney called out fellow Republicans for spreading lies about the 2020 presidential election.
Hinson and top House Republican leaders including Louisiana’s Steve Scalise are advocating for Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) to replace Cheney as the No. 3 Republican, who has the title of conference chair. House Republicans tried to remove Cheney from her leadership spot in February, but she had enough votes to hang on.
While most rank-and-file Republicans have stayed quiet about the internal party fight, Hinson issued a press statement in support of Stefanik, arguing that the party needs to be unified around former President Donald Trump as the GOP aims to take back the House during the 2022 midterm elections.
“Our party leadership has to be focused solely on taking back the House in 2022 — that is the only way we will stop this destructive liberal agenda being pushed by Speaker Pelosi and President Biden,” Hinson, a broadcast journalist elected in November in Iowa’s 1st Congressional District, said.
“If Republicans are divided, and not focusing all of our efforts against radical Democrat policies, Speaker Pelosi will remain in power. I don’t want that and neither do Iowans,” Hinson said. “I respect Congresswoman Liz Cheney’s strong conservative record and service to our country. However, I believe Congresswoman Elise Stefanik is the right person to unify and lead our Conference at this time.
“Our Republican Conference should be focused entirely on taking back the House majority and firing Speaker Pelosi, and I’m confident Elise will lead that charge.”
A spokesperson for Scalise on Wednesday told the New York Times that House Republicans will solely focus on taking back the House.
“Elise Stefanik is strongly committed to doing that, which is why Whip Scalise has pledged to support her for conference chair,” the spokesperson said.
Cheney, of Wyoming, was one of 10 House Republicans to back Trump’s impeachment for inciting the mob to attack the Capitol, where five people died.
She said in an opinion piece in the Washington Post published Wednesday that Trump’s baseless claims he won the election provoked the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol and the question for the GOP is whether “we will join Trump’s crusade to delegitimize and undo the legal outcome of the 2020 election, with all the consequences that might have.”
She said “there is good reason to believe that Trump’s language can provoke violence again.”
Stefanik has continued to push Trump’s falsehoods and also voted against certifying President Joe Biden’s victory in the electoral college.
Stefanik made a guest appearance on a podcast with former Trump administration strategist Steve Bannon, where she said the party should be unifying around Trump to win the 2022 midterm elections.
Trump has issued a statement through his political action committee that he supports Stefanik.
Hinson also had been mentioned as a potential candidate for the conference chair post by the Washington political newsletter Punchbowl News, which said that “Hinson’s TV experience means she’d be a good fit as the party’s top messenger.”
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