Top Democrats are making political hay of House Republicans’ latest effort to purge anti-Trump Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) from leadership, using the intra-party turmoil as an opportunity to contrast their relative unity with the GOP’s more pronounced public divisions.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer predicted in a Washington Post Live interview Democrats will beat historical odds and gain seats in 2022, pointing to Cheney’s expected ouster and Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) being booed at a Utah GOP event.
Hoyer said the GOP is “deeply divided” and called their pro-Trump litmus tests a “real weakness,” arguing that House Democrats, by contrast, “may have a slim majority, but it is a united majority.”
House Speaker Pelosi has gleefully seized the opportunity to bash the GOP, accusing House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of “punishing truth, rewarding Lies, embracing extremism & bigotry” and “stabb[ing] Cheney in the back” in a statement on Wednesday.
President Joe Biden referred to the Cheney fracas as a “mini-revolution” that shows Republicans are “further away from trying to figure out who they are and what they stand for than I thought they would be at this point.”
Biden added that while Democrats have “gone through periods where we’ve had internal fights and disagreements” in his half-century in national politics, he doesn’t “remember any like this.”
House Democrats have managed to keep defections to a minimum and pass sweeping legislation they passed in the last session despite the 2020 election more than halving their majority, with bills ranging from D.C. statehood to gun background checks to immigration reform now making their way to the Senate. But McCarthy has had to grapple with substantial chunks of his caucus splintering on obstruction tactics and broadly bipartisan bills and resolutions.
Senate Republicans have managed to stay largely unified and focused on policy issues where they agree, save for Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.). That is thanks in no small part to the fact Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and most GOP senators, like Cheney, opposed overturning the election. Asked about Cheney on Wednesday, McConnell pivoted to saying “100% of my focus is on stopping this new administration.”
What To Watch For
Cheney’s ouster is expected to come in the next few weeks, with Republicans scheduled to meet on May 12. Unlike last time, when she enjoyed McCarthy’s support, Cheney is largely on her own, and Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) has begun consolidating the votes of anti-Cheney lawmakers.
“Liz will have more to say in the coming days. This moment is about much more than a House leadership fight,” Cheney spokesperson Jeremy Adler told Forbes.