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Likely Cheney successor appears on Bannon show to tout GOP unity

The Hill logo The Hill 5/6/2021 Dominick Mastrangelo
a woman sitting at a table using a laptop: Likely Cheney successor appears on Bannon show to tout GOP unity © Greg Nash Likely Cheney successor appears on Bannon show to tout GOP unity

Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) appeared on former Trump White House aide Stephen Bannon's show this week to promise that if she is selected to serve as the House GOP's conference chair, she will make uniting the party a priority.

"My vision is to run with support from the president [Trump] and his coalition of voters, which was the highest number of votes ever won by a Republican nominee," Stefanik reportedly told Bannon on his "War Room" podcast on Thursday.

"This is also about being one team. And I'm committed to being a voice and sending a clear message that we are one team, and that means working with the president and working with all of our excellent Republican members of Congress."

Stefanik has emerged as the likely successor to Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), who is likely to be ousted as conference chair next week.

Cheney has come under criticism from former President Trump and other Republicans for her frequent criticisms of Trump.

The two House GOP leaders ahead of Cheney have been open about supporting efforts to remove her. Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) this week endorsed Stefanik to replace Cheney.


Video: House GOP considers ousting Liz Cheney from leadership after comments against Trump (CBS News)

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Cheney has ripped Trump over his false claims that the 2020 election was stolen from him. She voted to impeach Trump for inciting a mob to attack the Capitol on Jan. 6, and has warned of a "cult of personality" surrounding the former president.

"Trump is seeking to unravel critical elements of our constitutional structure that make democracy work - confidence in the result of elections and the rule of law. No other American president has ever done this," Cheney wrote in an op-ed published in The Washington Post this week.

"History is watching. Our children are watching. We must be brave enough to defend the basic principles that underpin and protect our freedom and our democratic process. I am committed to doing that, no matter what the short-term political consequences might be."

Trump is backing Stefanik to replace Cheney.

"Liz Cheney is a warmongering fool who has no business in Republican Party Leadership," Trump said in a statement on Wednesday. "We want leaders who believe in the Make America Great Again movement, and prioritize the values of America First. Elise Stefanik is a far superior choice, and she has my COMPLETE and TOTAL Endorsement for GOP Conference Chair. Elise is a tough and smart communicator!"

Stefanik has backed Trump's unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud, reportedly telling Bannon on Thursday "it is important to stand up for these constitutional issues," before saying she "totally supports" an audit of voting results in Arizona that defenders of the president have been focused on.

A potential ouster of Cheney has sparked cries of a double standard for women in the Republican Party and in Congress.

"The women don't get the same slack that the men get," former Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-Va.), a Cheney ally, told The Hill this week. "And I think a lot of the men are attacking her because they resent that she's got guts and they don't."

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