IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Here's the common thread linking the Liz Cheney and Facebook stories

First Read is your briefing from "Meet the Press" and the NBC Political Unit on the day's most important political stories and why they matter.
House GOP Leadership Press Conference To Discuss Southern Border Situation
Rep. Liz Cheney walks up the steps of the Capitol on Thursday, March 11, 2021.Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

WASHINGTON — Has one political party decided to move on from the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol? And what about one giant social-media company?

Those questions are the common thread linking today’s two big political stories: 1) House Republicans looking to oust Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., from leadership after her continued criticism of Donald Trump’s actions on that day; and 2) Facebook’s oversight board deciding whether Trump should be reinstated after being banned following the Jan. 6 riot.

It appears we already have an answer when it comes to the Republican Party and Jan. 6.

In less than four months, we’ve gone from House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy arguing that Trump bore responsibility for the attack and that he should be censured (though not impeached) — to McCarthy being caught on a hot mic saying: “I've had it with [Cheney],” regarding her criticism of the former president.

The more uncertain answer is the Facebook decision, which will have ramifications for 2024, as well as on the daily news cycle.

Without Facebook and Twitter, Trump’s statements and musings have received much less attention than they once did.

Is that now about to change?

Tweet of the day

Risky Business

But back to the Republican Party and Liz Cheney: Kicking her out of leadership carries risk for the GOP.

For one thing, do the Cheneys and Romneys — names that have been on GOP tickets in 2000, 2004 and 2012 — have no place in today’s Republican Party and its leadership?

That would be one message expelling Cheney from leadership would send.

A second message it would send is that the party doesn’t tolerate dissent and critical comments about Trump and his behavior leading up to Jan. 6 — that it’s not a big-tent party.

And the third (and maybe biggest) message removing Cheney from leadership would send is that the GOP remains inextricably linked to Trump, despite the former president no longer holding power and despite his declining poll numbers.

“Republicans should find a way to speak this truth to voters in 2022 — and quickly turn to running on an agenda for the future that will check Mr. Biden and his cradle-to-grave entitlement state. Purging Liz Cheney for honesty would diminish the party,” the Wall Street Journal’s editorial page writes.

The GOP has spent so much time and energy trying to portray Biden’s presidency and the Democratic Party as being radical.

But it’s hard to think of a more radical move than ousting someone from power because she disagrees — and continues to disagree — with how the former president conducted himself leading up to Jan. 6.

Data Download: The numbers you need to know today

4 percent: The drop in the U.S. birth rate last year, the largest single-year decrease in nearly 50 years.

32,667,954: The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States, per the most recent data from NBC News and health officials. (That’s 43,009 more than yesterday morning.)

582,709: The number of deaths in the United States from the virus so far, per the most recent data from NBC News. (That’s 947 more than yesterday morning.)

247,769,049: The number of vaccine doses administered in the U.S.

29.5 percent: The share of Americans who are fully vaccinated

ICYMI: What else is happening in the world

Here’s all you need to know about the continuing fight between Liz Cheney and the MAGA center of gravity in the House GOP.

A large group of businesses have signed on to twin letters rallying against new proposed voting restrictions in Texas.

L.A. mayor Eric Garcetti may be the next U.S. ambassador to India.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has set a special election date to replace the late Democratic Rep. Alcee Hastings. But Democrats aren’t happy about the delay.

Republicans are optimistic about a recent slate of Democratic House retirements.

From the AP: “A federal judge has ordered the release of a legal memorandum the Trump-era Justice Department prepared for then-Attorney General William Barr before he announced his conclusion that former President Donald Trump had not obstructed justice during the Russia investigation.”

The Washington Post reports on the Pentagon’s efforts to take a harder line on domestic extremism.

Charlie Crist is running for governor.