House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) claimed on "Fox & Friends" Tuesday that the push to oust Rep. Liz Cheney from GOP leadership is not related to her vote to impeach former President Trump, but rather her "ability to carry out the message."
Why it matters: Top Republicans have suggested that Cheney could be removed as GOP conference chair within a month, with Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.), leader of the largest conservative caucus in the House, telling Axios that her continued criticisms of Trump are "an unwelcome distraction."
- Amid the growing pressure, Cheney tweeted on Monday: "The 2020 presidential election was not stolen. Anyone who claims it was is spreading THE BIG LIE, turning their back on the rule of law, and poisoning our democratic system."
What they're saying: "No, there's no concern about how she voted on impeachment. That decision has been made," McCarthy told Fox News.
- "I have heard from members concerned about her ability to carry out the job as conference chair, to carry out the message. We all need to be working as one if we're able to win the majority," he continued.
- "I haven't heard members concerned about her vote on impeachment. It's more concerned about the job ability to do and what's our best step forward that we can all work together instead of attacking one another."
The backdrop: When Cheney faced an uprising within the party in February over her vote to impeach Trump, McCarthy supported her and told his colleagues he wanted her to remain as GOP conference chair.
- But leadership and many in the rank and file were angry last week when Cheney's criticism of Trump dominated coverage of the House Republican conference in Orlando, Florida.
- McCarthy also privately tried to get Cheney to apologize in February for how she handled her vote to impeach Trump — a request she refused, as Axios reported at the time. Despite what McCarthy claims, many House Republicans are in fact angry at how she voted.