House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy on Thursday angrily denied that his conference’s decision to boot Wyoming Representative Liz Cheney from her leadership post amounted to a punishment for her outspoken criticism of former president Donald Trump.
Ms Cheney, a three-term GOP congresswoman with a 95 per cent lifetime rating from the American Conservative Union, was removed as chair of the House Republican Conference in May with Mr McCarthy’s support due to her support for Mr Trump’s second impeachment and her refusal to stop blaming the former president for his role in fomenting the 6 January insurrection.
Speaking at his weekly press conference – just one day after Ms Cheney and Illinois Representative Adam Kinzinger were the sole members of the GOP conference to support censuring Arizona’s Paul Gosar for posting a video depicting him murdering Democratic congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and President Joe Biden – Mr McCarthy became visibly upset when a reporter asked why Ms Cheney was the only member of his conference who had suffered any sort of punishment at the hands of her GOP colleagues.
“Did she lose any committees? She lost an election, people go up for election all the time,” Mr McCarthy said, despite Ms Cheney’s 12 May removal having been the result of a voice vote at his insistence.
The California Republican then launched into a litany of complaints about House Democrats which he said were equivalent to Mr Gosar, whose censure came after he used his official social media accounts to post a video which showed an animated figure with his face killing New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez before threatening another figure with the face of Mr Biden.
He also complained about a 2019 incident in which the Democratic majority voted not to uphold a motion from then-Georgia representative Doug Collins for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to have remarks she’d made about racist tweets posted by Mr Trump “taken down,” or stricken from the record.
“It’s interesting to me how the Democrats want rules for thee but not for me,” he said. “That’s not right and we’ll change that when we’re in the majority”.
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