McCarthy calls GOP 'big tent party' as he moves to oust Liz Cheney

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House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy called the GOP the party of 'free thought and debate,' even though he's punishing a Republican for daring to criticize Donald Trump.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy on Monday announced Republicans will vote to remove Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) from her leadership role in the party — a punishment meted out because Cheney has said Donald Trump should not play a role in the future of the GOP.

McCarthy made the announcement in a letter to House Republicans, in which he claimed that the GOP is a "big tent" party that "embrace[s] free thought and debate" — even as Republicans are quite literally demoting a member for using her platform to criticize Trump.

"We are a big tent party. We represent Americans of all backgrounds and continue to grow our movement by the day," McCarthy wrote. "And unlike the left, we embrace free thought and debate. All members are elected to represent their constituents as they see fit, but our leadership team cannot afford to be distracted from the important work we were elected to do and the shared goals we hope to achieve."

McCarthy has previously endorsed the plan to remove Cheney from her leadership position over her outspoken criticism of Trump.

And on Sunday, McCarthy said in an interview on Fox News that he supports Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) as a replacement.

Stefanik has embraced Trump's big lie that the 2020 election was stolen. She voted to overturn the results of the election, even after the Trump-supporting mob of insurrectionists ransacked the Capitol, leading to five deaths and more than 100 law enforcement injuries.

The congresswoman has ramped up her efforts to spread election lies in her bid to oust Cheney, and has even called Trump "the president" in current tense.

Cheney, however, spoke out against Trump's lies even before the Jan. 6 insurrection.

In November 2020, Cheney said in a statement that if Trump didn't have concrete proof of voter fraud, "he should fulfill his oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States by respecting the sanctity of our electoral process."

She also came out against the GOP plan to object to President Joe Biden's Electoral College victory, writing in a Jan. 4 Facebook post, that  "Congress does not ... have the authority to overturn state presidential election results by refusing to count electors," and that "Doing so would be establishing a tyranny of Congress and stealing power from the states and the people in those states."

Since the insurrection, Cheney has been even more outspoken, calling Trump a "threat to democracy" during a speech at a private donor retreat.

"What he did on Jan. 6 is a line that cannot be crossed," Cheney said at the retreat, according to the Hill newspaper.

Only a few Republicans have come to Cheney's defense.

"Expelling Liz Cheney from leadership won’t gain the GOP one additional voter, but it will cost us quite a few," Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT), one of the handful of Republican senators who voted to convict Trump on the impeachment charge of inciting insurrection, tweeted on Monday after McCarthy's announcement.

However, Politico reported that Cheney is almost assured to be removed from her role.

"Liz Cheney doesn't represent our party," Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC), one of the 147 members of Congress to vote to overturn the election results, tweeted on Monday. "We need a conference chair who will fight for our America-First agenda instead of undermining it. Liz Cheney has got to go!"

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.