REPUBLICAN PARTY

What did Liz Cheney say in her speech to the House and why has she been removed from Party leadership?

A vote on Wednesday saw Rep. Liz Cheney removed from the role of GOP conference chair for refusing to support former President Trump's false claims of election fraud.

What did Liz Cheney say in her speech to the House and why has she been removed from Party leadership?
JONATHAN ERNST REUTERS

On Wednesday Republicans in the House of Representatives voted to remove Rep. Liz Cheney from the Party’s leadership ranks for her outspoken criticism of former President Donald Trump. The former GOP conference chair has refused to forward Trump’s false claims of election fraud, something that has put her at odds with the bulk of the GOP caucus.

After the result of the vote was confirmed Cheney told reporters in the Capitol that she intended to fight for the "fundamental principles of conservatism” in the face of Trump’s lies.

She said: "We must go forward based on truth. We cannot both embrace the big lie and embrace the Constitution.”

Cheney gives impassioned speech in the House of Representatives

The vote that took place on Wednesday was the culmination of a concerted effort by many from within the Party to oust Cheney from her position. The third-highest ranking Republican in the House had survived a similar vote in the aftermath of the 6 January insurrection, but she had faced growing calls to be removed by Party colleagues.

On Tuesday evening Cheney addressed the House in a forthright speech in which she warned that the Party risked losing both its identity and its credibility if it continued to entertain the lies perpetuated by Trump.

“Remaining silent and ignoring the lie emboldens the liar,” Cheney told those gathered in the chamber. “I will not participate in that. I will not sit back and watch in silence while others lead our party down a path that abandons the rule of law and joins the former president’s crusade to undermine our democracy.”

She continued: "I am a conservative Republican, and the most conservative of conservative principles is reverence for the rule of law.”

"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."

What next for the Republican Party and Liz Cheney?

Although the secret ballot vote saw Cheney removed from her leadership position, she retains her seat in the House as the representative for Wyoming. But after falling foul of the considerable Trump-supporting faction of the Party she now faces a challenge for her seat, with the challenger likely to receive hefty financial support from the former President.

In terms of her recently-vacantly position, New York congresswoman Elise Stefanik appears the most likely to replace her. Stefanik’s voting record is widely considered to be less conservative that Cheney’s and has previously claimed to be one of the “most bipartisan” members of Congress.

However Stefanik has been more willing to toe the Party line, and was one of 147 Republican lawmakers who opposed the certification of election results after Trump was defeated in last year’s election. This saw her removed from a panel at Harvard University; a move which Stefanik said she saw as a “rite of passage and badge of honour.”