Back in May 3, I wrote an article in response to a person's claim that Donald Trump was shut out of Congress and has no leverage in its affairs. I named three reasons for why his claim had little merit: the House Republicans are fed up with Liz Cheney, Mitt Romney was roundly booed in Utah, and Trump endorsee, Susan Wright, won the plurality of the votes in the TX-06 open primary.
Well, today on May 12, the House Republicans voted Liz Cheney out of her conference chair position.
Today's vote is an incredibly stark contrast to the February vote Liz survived where the GOP voted 145-61 in her favor. She was among one of the 10 House Republicans who voted in favor of impeaching Trump after Jan. 6 and has been vocal in her opposition against the former president. Some of her negative comments have led to incredibly awkward moments such as this:
In spite of her frequent criticisms and jabs, many prominent Republicans have visited Trump in Mar-a-Lago, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. Things finally hit a fever pitch when Liz remarked that Kevin McCarthy and Mitch McConnell are the leaders of the GOP and snubbed Trump. She also derided Jim Banks' memo on how the party should appeal to the working class voters as 'neo-Marxist'.
Liz began to bleed support and lose her former allies as she continued to double down on her comments. On the night before today's vote, the Wyoming representative gave a speech to Congress, admonishing her colleagues for not censuring Trump for his election fraud claims and his "crusade to undermine our democracy". However, all of the House Republicans except for Ken Buck (R-CO) left the floor.
Pretend Liz Cheney is Juror #10 and the rest of the jurors are the House Republicans (with Ken Buck being Juror #4).
Fast forward to today and the House Republicans have voted Liz Cheney off of her leadership position. In fact, the vote didn't even take that long as it only lasted 16 minutes. Unsurprisingly, Donald Trump applauded the results, calling Liz a "poor leader", "warmonger", and "a major Democrat talking point".
This is undoubtedly a major development within the GOP's internal politics. Liz Cheney represents the establishment faction of the Republican Party whereas Donald Trump represents the populist faction. Even after Trump left office, these two factions have engaged in ideological battles and Liz brought the ideological war to a fever pitch.
Liz Cheney's ouster was not the most notable event, in my opinion. It was how she got to that point. She survived the February vote by a very comfortable margin with a healthy 145 allies only to burn those bridges. The fact that almost the entire House GOP left the floor during her Tuesday night speech and spedrun today's vote is very telling of her popularity within the party.
NBC News characterized Liz's removal as the GOP embracing the ideology of revenge. However, I strongly disagree with that assessment. Liz had ample support and then, proceeded to throw it away. Kevin McCarthy initially supported her, but as time went on, his patience with her grew as her mind contained nothing, but "Trump this and Trump that".
In other words, Trump and the Republicans didn't get Liz removed from the conference chair position to get revenge. Her self-destruction led to her downfall.
On the other side, this is a big victory for Trump. Despite the fact that he's no longer in the White House, it is undeniable at this point that his influence on the Republican Party is significant. Time will tell if his influence will help the GOP win back the legislature in 2022. 12 days from now, the TX-06 district will hold a runoff election between Trump endorsee Susan Wright and Republican Jake Ellzey.