Rep. Liz Cheney said House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy has “changed his story” on the US Capitol riots in an op-ed for The Washington Post published Wednesday.
Cheney’s comments followed the House Minority Leader privately saying he has “had it with her” on a hot mic after an interview with “Fox and Friends,” signaling his and the House GOP’s waning support for Cheney, who serves as House conference chair. McCarthy and his Republican allies have bristled at Cheney’s public criticism of former President Donald Trump.
In the op-ed, Cheney described how she believes the GOP has reached a “turning point” post-Trump, and that “Republicans must decide whether we are going to choose truth and fidelity to the Constitution.” She pointed to GOP lawmakers’ reactions to the January 6 siege, and specifically to McCarthy’s public comments about it.
“House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) left no doubt in his public remarks,” Cheney wrote. “On the floor of the House on Jan. 13, McCarthy said: ‘The president bears responsibility for Wednesday’s attack on Congress by mob rioters. He should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding.'”
“Now, McCarthy has changed his story,” Cheney said.
She went on to slam some GOP lawmakers’ continued support for Trump after he lost the 2020 presidential election to Joe Biden by more than 7 million votes. Cheney called her party’s ongoing fealty to Trump “immensely harmful.”
“While embracing or ignoring Trump’s statements might seem attractive to some for fundraising and political purposes, that approach will do profound long-term damage to our party and our country,” Cheney wrote in the scathing op-ed. “Trump has never expressed remorse or regret for the attack of Jan. 6 and now suggests that our elections, and our legal and constitutional system, cannot be trusted to do the will of the people.”
Cheney’s op-ed comes one day after McCarthy said in a Tuesday “Fox and Friends” interview that he has heard “from members concerned about her ability to carry out the job as conference chair, to carry out the message.”
“We all need to be working as one if we’re able to win the majority [in the 2022 midterm elections],” he said on Tuesday.
In an off-air comment to host Steve Doocy, McCarthy could be heard saying he “lost confidence” in her as a Republican leader in the House, Axios reported Tuesday.
“You know, I’ve lost confidence,” McCarthy said. “Well, someone just has to bring a motion, but I assume that will probably take place.”
In response to McCarthy’s comments on Fox News, Cheney’s communication director Jeremy Adler said: “This is about whether the Republican Party is going to perpetuate lies about the 2020 election and attempt to whitewash what happened on Jan 6. Liz will not do that. That is the issue.”
It is not immediately clear if the statement was in response to solely McCarthy’s on-air remarks or if it addressed the off-air comment as well.
Cheney’s public criticisms of the GOP and Trump comes in stark contrast to the silent response from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has refused to answer questions from reporters about the former president.