McCarthy faces backlash from GOP lawmakers over Cheney ouster

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Some House Republicans are casting doubt on Kevin McCarthy's leadership amid the effort to remove Rep. Liz Cheney from her No. 3 role in the GOP conference.

House Republicans are privately grumbling about House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, saying his effort to oust Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) from the GOP top brass raises questions about his leadership and his ability to serve as speaker if Republicans regain control of the House, Politico reported.

According to Politico's report, House Republicans — some of them considered allies of McCarthy's — are frustrated that McCarthy has taken more action to punish Cheney for criticizing Donald Trump while letting the behavior of Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) slide.

Gaetz is under federal investigation for alleged child sex trafficking, while Greene has made offensive comments and rankled her fellow Republicans by interfering with House business.

One unnamed GOP lawmaker told Politico, referring to McCarthy's possible speaker vote:

Kevin McCarthy has pissed off enough members of his own conference that he's going to have to go back to his former days as a whip to try to figure out where his votes are. I'd be worried if I was him. … You have people like me — who are here to do the right thing for all the right reasons and have an expectation of leadership — that are, shall we say, disgusted with the internal squabbling that results from having weak leadership. And it is weak leadership. Straight up.

Other GOP lawmakers have been more vocal in their frustration with McCarthy.

Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), who has stood up for Cheney and similarly criticized Trump for his election lies and incitement of insurrection, said McCarthy has been inconsistent with his own comments toward Trump.

At a virtual event hosted by the National Press Foundation, Kinzinger pointed out that McCarthy also blamed Trump for the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol before later absolving Trump and embracing the ex-commander-in-chief.

"She is being run out for one thing: her consistency," Kinzinger said at the event, according to CNN. "She said the exact same thing that Kevin McCarthy said on January 6, which is Donald Trump is responsible" for the riot.

Indeed, on Jan. 13, the day the House impeached Trump for a second time for inciting the Capitol insurrection, McCarthy said Trump needs to "accept his share of responsibility" for the riot.

"The president bears responsibility for Wednesday's attack on Congress by mob rioters," McCarthy said in a speech on the House floor, even though he voted against impeaching Trump. "He should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding. These facts require immediate action by President Trump."

Kinzinger went on to accuse McCarthy of lying in an eye-popping remark.

"You cannot unite with lies, if somebody is going to use lies to gain power and say, 'let's have unity,' you can't do it," Kinzinger said, an apparent reference to McCarthy's comments that Cheney cannot be in leadership because her comments don't unify the House conference. "'We need to remove Liz Cheney because she makes me have to answer questions that I know are false.' That's what they're saying."

Ultimately, McCarthy announced on Monday that Republicans will vote on Wednesday on whether to remove Cheney from her leadership role. Multiple reports say Cheney is almost assured to lose her leadership post.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.