Representative Chip Roy (R., Texas) became the first House Republican to push back publicly against Representative Elise Stefanik‘s (R., N.Y.) bid for House leadership, in a letter to every Republican in the chamber on Wednesday.
Roy, a member of the conservative Freedom Caucus, supports removing Representative Liz Cheney (R., Wyo.) as House GOP Conference Chair, he suggested that Stefanik’s voting record was not conservative enough for the leadership post.
Roy pointed out that Stefanik voted against President Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, and opposed much of the president’s border agenda including funding for a border wall.
“With all due respect to my friend, Elise Stefanik, let us contemplate the message Republican leadership is about to send by rushing to coronate a spokesperson whose voting record embodies much of what led to the 2018 ass-kicking we received by Democrats,” Roy wrote in his memo.
“After vacating the current Conference Chair,” Roy added, “we should either choose someone who reflects our conservative values, or perhaps leave the position vacant and focus not on a position most people do not care about, but instead a strong agenda based on defending Americans from the radical left remaking their communities.”
Stefanik has received Freedom Caucus chair Representative Jim Jordan’s backing, and told reporters on Tuesday that “we have a great deal of support from the Freedom Caucus and others.”
The bid to oust Cheney from the position came as Cheney has continued to criticize President Trump over his conduct during the January riot at the Capitol, and for his allegation that Democrats “stole” the election. Cheney repeated her criticisms on Tuesday, one day before the election for Conference Chair.
“Remaining silent and ignoring the lie emboldens the liar,” Cheney said. “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.”
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