House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy Announced Sunday that he wants to replace Liz Cheney, Chair of the House Republican Conference, with Elise Stefanik.
There is a certain amount of drama associated with the leadership change, which will almost certainly be completed this week, as breathless commentators see it as the next stage in the trumpification of the Republican Party. But the Cheney-Stefanik competition is less than it seems.
McCarthy has struggled to develop a relationship with Trump since the unfortunate California representative said the former president “is responsible for [the January 6] Mob rioters attack Congress. “
Cheney shared this view. When the house voted in favor of the indictment against Trump on January 13 for his incitement to rebellion, Cheney, a representative from Wyoming who is similar to Republican royalty because of her last name, voted for the indictment.
McCarthy lacked the courage to vote for impeachment, but he supported Cheney at the time Continuation of the role in the caucus leadership.
Now the minority leader has joined Trump in aiding Stefanik, another enemy of impeachment, to replace Cheney.
Much of the coverage of the Musical Chair Act leads us to believe that Stefanik is an all-in Trump loyalist and that Cheney is an outsider in the tradition of, say, John McCain.
However, this is not the case. While Cheney has clearly come into conflict with Trump in recent months, she has enthusiastically supported him for the president in 2016 and 2020. And she absolutely and apologetically accepted his agenda when he served as president. Stefanik, on the other hand, was a skeptic.
In 2016, in one of the last estates of Never Trump Republicanism, Stefanik was an outspoken supporter of the Republican presidential bid from John Kasich, the shameless, self-promoting former governor of Ohio who tried to position himself as the last man in the republic, away from Trump Nomination. After Kasich crashed and burned, Stefanik reluctantly said she would support the party’s candidate in November, but as is well known refused to say Trump’s name.
When the new Republican president took office in January 2017, it was Cheney who got on the Trump train. Stefanik, on the other hand, has earned a reputation for going her own way.
Look at the thirty-five eight “Persecution of Congress in the Age of TrumpRecord of the number of times Congress members voted with or against the former President. Cheney earned an impressive 92.9 Trump loyalty rating. That was higher than Trump pitchmen like Florida Republican Matt Gaetz (85 percent) and Ohio Republican Jim Jordan (88 percent). Cheney even beat Alabama Republican Mo Brooks (88.6 percent), who actually appeared at the January 6 rally that sparked the riot.
What about Stefanik? She rated the Trump loyalty scale at just 77.7 percent.
Throughout Trump’s tenure, Stefanik turned out to be a far more outsider than Cheney. Though she is certainly not a Liberal, Stefanik was one of eight Republicans in the 116th Congress, which campaigned for democratic advocates for LGBTQ + rights to defend the Equal Opportunities Act. She was one of only 26 Republicans who partnered with Democrats in supporting laws to keep the postal service alive during the coronavirus pandemic.
Stefanik called Trump’s decision the United States “misdirected” and “a mistake” to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement, and they joined the Bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus in 2017. That year she voted 43 percent for the League of Conservation Voters program – a respectable record for a Republican. She argued that it was possible to be conservative and at least a little green. saying“If you ask very conservative millennials who say they are very conservative, they believe that we have to fight climate change and that we have to be really conservative to protect our environment.”
When Trump issued his infamous executive order banning immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries, Stefanik condemned the move, saying the president’s xenophobia was “not who we are as a country. ”
These points of view and voices earned Stefanik a meager conservative score of 22 percent in the right-wing group Heritage Action for America in the 115th Congress and only 56 percent in the 116th Congress. In the same sessions, Cheney was 61 percent and 82 percent, respectively.
In 2018, when Cheney was cheering Trump on, Stefanik used a city hall meeting in her New York state to apply as an independent Republican who often broke with Trump. She called for the removal of Scott Pruitt, Trump’s chief environmental officer, criticized Republican tax policies and spoke about support for at least some gun regulations. Above all, according to Northeast Public Radioalso said the member of the House Intelligence Committee ” It fully supports the Russia investigation under the direction of special adviser Robert Mueller. “
But now that Cheney is on the rise with Team Trump, Stefan’s star is rising.
Republicans love hypocrites, and Stefanik is the hypocrite du jour. She was an outsider when it was convenient – she was so vocal about Trump as a candidate and president that the New York media noticed how much time she was spending. “to distance oneself”From Trump and the GOP. But Stefanik now realizes that her political ambitions are best served by positioning herself as a Trump loyalist in today’s Trump party. She is ready to bow to this new reality – just like McCarthy – and is rewarded for her shamelessness.
In the Republican Party as it was reassembled, voting papers are afterthoughts. The only measure that matters at this point is the embrace of Trump’s big lies about the 2020 election result and the riots in which the former president’s supporters participated at his behest.
Cheney is uncomfortable giving Trump as much cover as he demands, Stefanik isn’t.
It’s good that Liz Cheney got one thing right. But do not be mistaken. The Wyoming representative is far more loyal to Trump and the far-right agenda that has changed the Republican Party in recent years than the suddenly emerging New York representative.
What sets Elise Stefanik apart is not her balance sheet or her vision. It is the fact that she is more in line with her own hypocrisy – and that of her party.