McCarthy Makes It Clear: Embrace Trump’s Election Lies or Get Kicked Out of Leadership

Liz Cheney, after tweeting the simple truth about the election, looks increasingly abandoned by the GOP.

Tom Williams/ZUMA

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Rep. Liz Cheney’s refusal to go along with the GOP’s increasing embrace of Donald Trump’s lie, that the 2020 election was stolen from him, appears to have reached a crisis point for the third-ranking House Republican.

“I have heard from members, concerned about her ability to carry out the job as conference chair, to carry out the message,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy told Fox News Tuesday. “We all need to be working as one if we’re able to win the majority.” The remarks come on the heels of a tweet from Cheney, in which the Wyoming congresswoman unequivocally pushed back on a statement Trump had issued earlier on Monday falsely calling Joe Biden’s victory “THE BIG LIE.”

But by simply telling the truth, as Cheney did with her tweet, she has since set off a firestorm of outrage among her Republican colleagues, many of whom are now clamoring for her removal as Republican conference chair. The tensions spilled into a closed-door meeting later on Monday, where Cheney once again warned Republicans not to accept Trump’s falsehoods about the election, nor should they “whitewash” the events of the deadly January 6 Capitol insurrection. “It’s a poison in the bloodstream of our democracy,” Cheney said referring to Trump’s lies, according to sources in the room who spoke to CNN.

“We can’t whitewash what happened on January 6 or perpetuate Trump’s big lie,” she continued. “It is a threat to democracy. What he did on January 6 is a line that cannot be crossed.”

What’s notable now is that Cheney’s position has not changed; she’s simply repeating her stance on Trump’s actions in the Capitol insurrection. Instead, it’s the note of reproval in McCarthy’s newest comments that signals that Republicans, in the months since January 6, have grown comfortable in openly supporting Trump’s blatant lies. Where once McCarthy had stood by Cheney, thereby saving her from a party vote to remove her from the leadership team, he now appears to have had enough of the truth.

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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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