House Republicans voted to place Donald Trump loyalist Elise Stefanik in a leadership position, strengthening the former president’s enduring grip on the party more than three months after leaving the White House.
Republican lawmakers voted by secret ballot on Friday morning, just days after ousting Liz Cheney, Member of Parliament for Wyoming and daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, from the same position for her. attacks on Trump.
Stefanik, a 36-year-old lawmaker from rural upstate New York, won the race to replace Cheney for the Speaker of the House Republican Conference after a right-wing challenge from Chip Roy, a member of the Texas Congressman who questioned her conservative references.
“The American people are going through an economic crisis, a border crisis, an energy crisis and a national security crisis due to radical far-left policies,” Stefanik said in a statement Friday.
Stefanik had frequently criticized Trump earlier in her congressional career, but in the later stages of her presidency, she became one of his strongest supporters in Congress. In turn, Trump backed his rise within the party, including with a statement on the eve of Friday’s vote.
“I can’t imagine members of the Republican House would go with Chip Roy – he didn’t do a great job and will likely be successful in his own district. I support Elise, from afar, on Chip! Trump said.
Stefanik’s ascent capped a week of drama and internal conflicts within the Republican Party. Just before being ousted from the Republican leadership, Cheney launched a meteoric attack on her fellow party members for bowing to Trump and undermining American democracy.
Cheney was among the few Republicans who voted to remove Trump this year after a mob of his supporters led a deadly assault on the U.S. Capitol on Jan.6.
“I am not going to sit and watch in silence as others lead our party down a path that abandons the rule of law and joins the former president’s crusade to undermine our democracy,” Cheney said.
Stefanik’s election as conference chair – in fact the third caucus position – reflects the extent to which Kevin McCarthy, the party’s leader in the lower house, has come to accept Trump’s influence over his members. from the base.
After the Jan.6 attack, McCarthy said Trump bore “responsibility” for the deadly riot, but then defended the former president.
This week he insisted he had accepted Joe Biden as sitting US president after a Meet in the White House, trying to fend off accusations that he supported conspiracy theories about the 2020 election.
“I don’t think anyone questions the legitimacy of the presidential election,” McCarthy said. “I think it’s over”.