WASHINGTON – A House Republican news conference turned awkward Wednesday when Rep. Liz Cheney said Donald Trump should not be part of the GOP’s future – and did so while standing next to leaders who have been supportive of the ex-president.
Cheney dismissed Trump when asked whether he should be speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), something he is scheduled to do on Sunday.
“That’s up to CPAC,” Cheney said, adding: “I don’t believe that he should be playing a role in the future of the party or the country.”
Cheney’s comments prompted House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif. – who is also appearing at CPAC, and said just seconds before that Trump has the right to speak there as well – to suddenly end the GOP leaders’ news conference.
“On that high note, thank y’all very much,” he said.
McCarthy criticized Trump right after the Jan. 6 attack, but softened his tone in the weeks thereafter. He even met with the ex-president late last month at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Fla., to discuss strategy for the 2022 congressional elections.
Cheney’s criticism came a day after she again blamed Trump for inciting the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol designed to overturn his election loss to Joe Biden.
During a question-and-answer session following a foreign policy address, Cheney hit Trump for “summoning the mob” and “provoking them” to a violent attack as Congress counted electoral votes.
Cheney, the third-highest ranking Republican in the House, was one of ten GOP members to vote to impeach Trump over the Jan. 6 incident.
Trump and allies have vowed to retaliate by supporting primary challengers to those ten House Republicans, particularly Cheney.
After her comments Tuesday, Trump political adviser Jason Miller said: “If Liz Cheney spent half as much time attacking Democrats as she does attacking Republicans, we’d be in the majority already!”