Liz Cheney keeps job as No. 3 House Republican despite her impeachment vote but 61 object

WASHINGTON – Wyoming GOP Rep. Liz Cheney retained her post as the third most powerful House Republican, sidestepping broad backlash within the party for her vote last month to impeach then-President Donald Trump.

House Republicans debated Cheney’s fate during a tumultuous, hours-long, closed-door meeting Wednesday that was expected to signal the future direction of a party whose base is still fiercely loyal to Trump.

It ended with lawmakers voting 145-61 (with one abstention) by secret ballot to keep her as chair of the GOP Conference.

After the meeting, Cheney told reporters the vote made clear “that we’re not divided and that we’re not going to be in a situation where people can pick off any member of leadership. It was a very resounding acknowledgement that we need to go forward together, and we need to go forward in a way that helps us push back the really dangerous and negative Democratic policies.”

In this Dec. 17, 2019 file photo, Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., speaks with reporters at the Capitol in Washington.

While the vote was a win for the establishment wing of the party that Cheney represents, Wednesday’s meeting also proved to be a victory of sorts for Trump loyalists who oppose her.

Freshman Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, who continues to make baseless claims that the election was stolen from Trump, avoided any punishment for a series of incendiary, conspiratorial and racist posts on social media made before she was elected but that resurfaced in recent days.

“This Republican Party’s a very big tent, and everyone’s invited,” GOP House leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., told reporters after the five-hour meeting.

But the 61 votes against Cheney indicate a divided caucus.

Many remain upset that the daughter of former Vic President Dick Cheney joined nine other GOP lawmakers in impeaching Trump on a charge that he incited a mob of supporters on Jan. 6 to storm the Capitol and stop the ceremonial count of Electoral College votes affirming Joe Biden’s victory.

“The President of the United States summoned this mob, assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack,” Cheney said in a statement at the time of her impeachment vote. “Everything that followed was his doing. None of this would have happened without the President.”

There was no vote during Wednesday’s meeting on Greene, who has drawn outrage from many Democrats and some Republicans on Capitol Hill after recently unearthed social media activity from her past.

Among the posts are ones where she “liked” calls for violence against prominent Democrats, described school shootings as staged events, and outlined QAnon conspiracies, such as space lasers causing deadly wildfires in California, among others.

Democrats are moving ahead with the extraordinary step of stripping Greene of her committee assignments as a penalty for those posts. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, whom Greene had said in one post should be assassinated, slammed McCarthy for his “cowardly refusal” to act.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene faces backlash after former Facebook activity and video surfaced of her heckling Parkland survivor before she took office.

Rep. Jeff Van Drew, R-N.J., told reporters that Greene apologized in the meeting for her past remarks and disavowed QAnon after sharing some of the movement’s conspiracies.

Van Drew said Greene was “sorry for some of the things that she said, and was willing to move on and wants to do the best job she can do.”

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