Texas Rep. Chip Roy will run for the GOP conference chair, challenging Rep. Elise Stefanik, a Republican party rising star, his spokesman confirmed to NBC news on Thursday.
Roy's entrance into the race upends what was largely seen as an easy slot for Stefanik, of New York, to fill after getting the endorsements from top members of the Republican Party, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California, House Minority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana and former President Donald Trump
Rep. Ken Buck, R-Mo., will formally nominate Roy on Friday. A GOP conference meeting is expected to take place Friday morning and Roy is expected to address his colleagues Thursday evening at conference candidate forum.
House Republicans voted Wednesday to remove Rep. Liz Cheney from the No. 3 leadership position after she vocally rebuked Trump for his role in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol and spreading false claims about the 2020 presidential election being stolen.
Trump, in a statement on Thursday, threw his support behind Stefanik, a staunch ally of the former president.
"Can’t imagine Republican House Members would go with Chip Roy—he has not done a great job, and will probably be successfully primaried in his own district. I support Elise, by far, over Chip!" Trump said.
This past March, Roy created a maelstrom after he made what appeared to be a pro-lynching remark during a House Judiciary subcommittee hearing on combatting anti-Asian American violence.
"We believe in justice. There are old sayings in Texas about find all the rope in Texas and get a tall oak tree. We take justice very seriously. And we ought to do that. Round up the bad guys. That's what we believe," he said. Roy later refused to apologize.