House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) is openly supporting Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) to replace Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) as House Republican conference chair, according to a statement provided to Axios.
Why it matters: Scalise's public endorsement of Stefanik marks a new escalation in House Republicans' internal feud over Cheney, who voted to impeach Donald Trump for inciting the Jan. 6 Capitol riot and has continued to criticize the former president.
- The rift has threatened to derail Republicans' chances of taking back control of the House in the 2022 elections. Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) — the leader of the largest conservative caucus in the House — suggested to Axios last week that Cheney could be ousted within a month.
- House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy was caught on a hot mic on Tuesday saying he's "lost confidence" in Cheney and "has had it with" her behavior.
What he's saying: “House Republicans need to be solely focused on taking back the House in 2022 and fighting against Speaker Pelosi and President Biden’s radical socialist agenda, and Elise Stefanik is strongly committed to doing that, which is why Whip Scalise has pledged to support her for Conference Chair,” Scalise’s spokesperson Lauren Fine said in a statement, which was first reported by Punchbowl News.
- Scalise told Axios late last month the "idea that you just disregard President Trump is not where we are, and, frankly, he has a lot to offer still."
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