(CNN)Rep. Liz Cheney is expected to lose her post in the House Republican leadership on Wednesday after publicly rejecting for months former President Donald Trump’s lie that he won the 2020 presidential election.
House Republicans, who are meeting behind closed doors on Capitol Hill, are instead likely to replace her with New York Rep. Elise Stefanik, who has a less conservative voting record than Cheney but has emerged as one of Trump’s top defenders. Cheney did not back down in a speech on Tuesday evening, touting her conservative credentials amid criticism from Trump’s allies.
“I am a conservative Republican, and the most conservative of conservative principles is reverence for the rule of law,” she said in a floor speech. “The election is over. That is the rule of law. That is our constitutional process. Those who refuse to accept the rulings of our courts are at war with the Constitution.”
Despite her feud with Trump, House Republicans overwhelmingly voted in early February to keep Cheney as the No. 3 House Republican, who is in charge of executing the conference’s message to the public.
Unlike that vote a few months ago when she worked behind the scenes to fend off the push for her ouster, Cheney is not whipping her colleagues to stay in her position. A senior GOP member of Congress who supported Cheney then told CNN he has not heard from her ahead of Wednesday’s vote.
Cheney’s renunciation of Trump has drawn a stark contrast with House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy, who traveled to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort after saying that Trump bore responsibility for the attack on the Capitol. While McCarthy previously supported Cheney, he now backs Stefanik for the House GOP’s No. 3 role.
The relationship between McCarthy and Cheney started to crumble a couple weeks after the vote on her leadership in February, when a reporter at a press conference asked if Trump should speak at the Conservative Political Action Conference.
McCarthy said “yes,” while Cheney said, “I don’t believe that he should be playing a role in the future of the party or the country.”
McCarthy then ended his appearances at press events with Cheney, raised questions about the election and distanced himself from her attacks.
Cheney’s remarks last week seemed to be McCarthy’s last straw. After Trump attempted to rebrand his loss as “THE BIG LIE!,” the Wyoming Republican noted that the 2020 election “was not stolen” and tweeted that “anyone who claims it was is spreading THE BIG LIE, turning their back on the rule of law, and poisoning our democratic system.”
Well aware that the other members of the House GOP leadership are men, Trump, McCarthy, House GOP Whip Steve Scalise and others quickly backed Stefanik, who has worked to elect more Republican women in Congress.
“Everyone in l
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