WASHINGTON, D.C. – Liz Cheney, the third-ranking Republican in the House of Representatives, kept her leadership role after a tense GOP conference meeting Wednesday.
Cheney, 54, R-Wyo., kept her position by a 145-61 vote. One member voted “present.”
Cheney came under attack by fellow Republicans after she voted to impeach former President Donald Trump on Jan. 13 and accused him of the “greatest betrayal by a president of the United States of his office.” Some Republicans wanted Cheney to apologize for her comments, CNN reported.
“I won’t apologize for the vote,” Cheney reportedly told the House Republican conference, according to CNN.
The vote was conducted by Republican members of the House via secret ballot.
Members of the hard-right Freedom Caucus, some of whom led the charge to strip Cheney of her post, accused her of “aiding the enemy” by releasing a lengthy statement the day before the impeachment vote, explaining why she was supporting the effort against Trump, The New York Times reported. Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, said he believed Cheney could not represent a conference that had overwhelmingly voted against impeachment, according to the newspaper.
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., also spoke in support of Cheney, arguing that now was not the time to change leaders, the Times reported. Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., of Illinois, also spoke in Cheney’s defense, accusing McCarthy of doing more to defend Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia than to defend the Wyoming representative, calling his leadership “embarrassing.”
Cheney voted in favor of Trump policies more than 90% of the time during his term, The Washington Post reported.
She has received support from influential lobbying groups and prominent Republicans. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., called Cheney “an important leader in our party and a nation” in a statement to CNN. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., has said that he continues to back Cheney, the Post reported.
During a closed-door meeting with House Republicans on Wednesday afternoon, McCarthy said he supported keeping Cheney in leadership, according to The Wall Street Journal.
A rally outside the Wyoming state Capitol last week headlined by Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., drew several hundred people, The New York Times reported. They chanted “No more Cheney!” and cheered as Gaetz criticized “Never Trump” Republicans as relics.
“We control the true spirit and identity of America,” said Gaetz, who was leading the effort to oust Cheney from the House leadership.
The Republican Party chapter in at least 10 Wyoming counties condemned Cheney’s vote for impeachment, while the state GOP put out a statement referring to Cheney’s decision as a “travesty,” the Star-Tribune of Minneapolis reported.