WASHINGTON — House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy refused to say Tuesday whether Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming should be on the Republican leadership team, a renewed sign of internal strife that began during former President Donald Trump’s impeachment.
Cheney, who is the third highest-ranking Republican in the House, voted to impeach Trump earlier this year, prompting calls from some fellow Republicans that she be removed from her leadership post. She survived the challenge in February and remained in the post.
McCarthy, R-Calif., was one of Trump’s staunchest allies and has continued to publicly support the former president, including by voting hours after the Jan. 6 Capitol attack to block the counting of some electoral votes for President Joe Biden. Cheney has become one of Trump’s loudest Republican critics and voted to impeach him for his role in the deadly Jan. 6 attack on the capitol.
Speaking Tuesday at a retreat for House Republicans in Orlando, Florida, McCarthy suggested that Cheney’s future on the leadership team remained uncertain.
“That’s a question for the conference,” McCarthy said when asked if Cheney was a “good fit” for the leadership team.
Pushed further to offer his own opinion, McCarthy instead talked about the purpose of retreat, and said, “I think from a perspective, if you’re sitting here at a retreat that’s focused on policy and focused on the future of making American next century, and you’re talking about something else, you’re not being productive.”
McCarthy was also asked about Trump’s previous promise to endorse a primary challenger to Cheney and whether the House leader would help her. McCarthy — who previously said that Cheney had not asked for his help in her re-election campaign — responded by saying, “I haven’t talked to her about it.”
Cheney, who organized the retreat, was asked last week whether Trump would be attending the House GOP conference. “I haven’t invited him,” she said.