Scalise: Cheney Focusing Too Much on Past to Keep Leadership

House Republicans are pushing to remove Rep. Liz Cheney from her leadership role because she insists on focusing on the past with her objections to former President Donald Trump rather than looking to the future and how to regain the GOP’s control in Congress, House Minority Whip Steve Scalise said Thursday. 

“The vast majority of members are talking about the next election,” the Louisiana Republican told Fox Business’s Maria Bartiromo. “We have to be united if we are going to defeat the socialist agenda you’re seeing in Washington. I started hearing from a lot of members about that. (We’re) ready to move forward.”

Scalise is backing Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., to replace Cheney as the House Republican Conference chair. The Wyoming Republican has taken a strong stance against Trump and his continued objections to his 2020 election loss to President Joe Biden and has been outspoken about Trump and the Jan. 6 incidents at the Capitol. 

Cheney also was one of 10 Republican members of the House to vote to impeach Trump earlier this year on charges of “incitement of insurrection” in connection with the Capitol events. 

Scalise told Bartiromo that it’s Cheney’s insistence about “talking about things that happened in the past” that’s leading to the party’s turn against her. 

“About 2 weeks ago, we had a big conference retreat,” he said. “We had over 150 members of the House Republican conference who got together in Florida to start talking about unifying around an agenda for next year to take the majority back and not just to be the opposition party,” Scalise said. 

The congresswoman, in a strongly worded opinion piece for The Washington Post Wednesday, said that Trump’s message that he is “still the rightful president” and Biden is “illegitimate” is being repeated “with full knowledge that exactly this type of language provoked violence on Jan. 6.”

The Republicans are strongly opposed to the “socialist agenda” championed by Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Scalise continued, and party members want to unite around conservative principles to move the economy forward. 

“I think you saw congresswoman Cheney giving a press conference and talking about the last election when all of us, the vast majority of members, are talking about the next election,” said Scalise. 

The main job conference chair, he added, is to set the tone of communications for the party members. 

“We want to keep the theme on what we need to do to push back agains the socialist agenda,” said Scalise. “That’s where most of our members are, so the conference chair is, in essence, a spokesperson for the House Republicans.”

Meanwhile, lawmakers return to Congress next week, so action likely won’t happen on the Cheney matter before then, Scalise commented.

However, there is a “large number” of members who are saying they gave Cheney a second chance before but now they “feel like they got burned,” said Scalise. 

“The members, all of us, are focused on getting the majority back and saving our country,” but Cheney is not focused on the future or doing what it will take to fight back against Pelosi and Biden,” he maintained. 

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