Republican opinion makers and voters may have definite opinions about the fate of Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), but so far Wisconsin’s representatives in Congress have remained silent.
The Republican Minority Leader in the House of Representatives Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is planning on a vote for Wednesday on whether to remove Cheney as the House Republican Conference Chairman, the third most powerful position in the Republican Caucus. However, RightWisconsin inquiries from last week to Representatives Bryan Steil (R-WI1), Scott Fitzgerald (R-WI5), Glenn Grothman (R-WI6), Tom Tiffany (R-WI7) and Mike Gallagher (R-WI8) about how they plan to vote have gone unanswered.
The leadership vote is a secret ballot. However, a number of Republican congressmen have already publicly stated that they plan on voting for Cheney’s opponent, Elise Stefanik (R-NY).
Wednesday’s anticipated vote is the second attempt to remove Cheney from her leadership position after she voted for the impeachment of former President Donald Trump for his role in inciting the violent riot at the U.S. Capitol by his supporters to disrupt the certification of the 2020 presidential election results. Cheney has remained an outspoken critic of the former president and has called for an investigation into the riot of January 6. The investigation, if it takes place, would be embarrassing to McCarthy who could be compelled to testify under oath about his phone call to Trump asking the former president to “call off” the rioters who were attempting to disrupt the peaceful transfer of power and actually threatened the safety of lawmakers attempting to certify the 2020 presidential election, including Vice President Mike Pence.
Stefanik, on the other hand, has a far-less conservative voting record. However, she is in lockstep with Trump on questioning the results of the 2020 presidential election and she opposed impeachment. Loyalty to the ex-president is “trumping” ideology, especially if it means one less person in Republican leadership calling for an investigation into the riot of January 6.
The silence of Wisconsin Republicans prior to Wednesday’s vote is especially notable given Gallagher’s previous statements of support for Cheney.
“Liz is a principled conservative and our most passionate advocate for American primacy,” Gallagher said in a statement prior to the failed attempt in February to remove Cheney. “She is also unafraid to clearly state and defend her views even if they are unpopular. As we figure out where Republicans go from here, we need Liz’s leadership. We must be a big tent party or else condemn ourselves to irrelevance.”
Gallagher’s silence ahead of the Cheney vote could be a sign that he is flip-flopping. If Cheney is losing one of her more vocal supporters, her leadership position could be in jeopardy.
Ironically, Gallagher was especially vocal on January 6 calling on Trump to end the violence.
That’s in stark contrast to the records of Tiffany and Fitzgerald. As the smoke and tear gas cleared from the January 6 riot at the Capitol, both Tiffany and Fitzgerald sided with the rioters and voted in the dark of night to object to certifying votes in Arizona and Pennsylvania.