House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has officially endorsed attorney Harriet Hageman, the top challenger to incumbent GOP Rep. Liz Cheney, in the race for Wyoming's one and only House seat, The Federalist reports Thursday.
"After spending time with Harriet, it is readily apparent she will always listen and prioritize the needs of her local communities and is focused on tackling our nation's biggest problems," McCarthy told the Federalist. "I look forward to serving with Harriet for years to come."
In backing Hageman (who also has the support of notable Cheney-hater former President Donald Trump), McCarthy is not only taking his denouncement of the Wyoming lawmaker to the next level, he's breaking with typical party protocol, CNN notes, given "GOP leaders in the House have long had a posture of neutrality in primaries."
Cheney has been quite viciously alienated from her party, for both her service on the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot and her vocal criticism of Trump. In May, for instance, she was ousted from her House leadership position. And earlier this month, the Republican National Committee voted to formally censure both her and fellow GOP Trump-critic-turned-Jan. 6-committee-member Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois for their work in investigating the riot.
With McCarthy's support of Hageman now out in the open, "other members of the GOP conference" can "openly support Cheney's primary challenger with the blessing of leadership," the Federalist writes.
An official statement should come from Team McCarthy around 6 p.m. per Bloomberg News' Billy House.