WASHINGTON — House Republicans on Friday elected Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., as their conference chair, replacing Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., who was ousted on Wednesday for her public rebuke of former President Donald Trump.
Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, unsuccessfully challenged Stefanik, who has a moderate voting record, arguing she was not conservative enough and expressing frustration by her “coronation.” Stefanik became a vocal supporter of Trump in recent years.
Stefanik won 134 to 46 in a secret ballot.
In a brief press conference after the vote, the new leadership team claimed that their conference is unified. Stefanik thanked Trump for his support.
"He is a critical part of our Republican team," she said. "The American people are suffering under the far-left radical socialist policies of President Joe Biden and Speaker Nancy Pelosi. In just over 100 days, we have an economic crisis, we have a border crisis and we have a national security crisis."
Asked if Trump is the leader of the GOP, Stefanik said, "I believe that voters determine the leader of the Republican Party and President Trump is the leader that they look to. I support President Trump voters support President Trump, he is an important voice in our Republican Party and we look forward to working with him."
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., told reporters that the leadership team has a lot of work to do because "the policies of Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden are destroying this nation."
After delivering a speech at a Republican candidate forum Thursday, Stefanik tweeted, “Thank you to my colleagues in the Republican Conference for the opportunity to participate in today’s forum. Great questions from all Members and great discussion with Chip. A productive forum for the House GOP team!”
House Republicans ousted Cheney from the No. 3 position in leadership Wednesday during a closed-door meeting after she voted to impeach Trump for his role in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol and rebuked him for what she called his “big lie” that the 2020 presidential election was stolen.
Following her removal, Cheney said she remained committed to helping restore her party, calling the GOP's embrace of Trump's election falsehoods "an ongoing threat” and adding that “silence is not an option.”
“Right now I am very focused on making sure that our party becomes again a party that stands for truth and stands for fundamental principles that are conservative,” Cheney said in an interview with NBC’s “TODAY” show, adding that Trump “must not ever again be anywhere close to the Oval Office.”
Before the vote Friday, Cheney spoke to New Hampshire Today radio about her plans to rebuild the party. She said that they have to “attract back voters who left us in 2020” and reiterated that, “We have to be willing to say the 2020 election was not stolen, and the former president is lying when he tells you it was.”
Just as she did during the NBC interview, Cheney again dodged a question about running for president in 2024 and did not rule out a bid.