McCarthy is reportedly gambling that dumping Liz Cheney will get Trump to help make him House speaker

Trump and Kevin McCarthy
(Image credit: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) informed his GOP colleagues on Monday that they should "anticipate a vote" on ousting Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) as GOP Conference chair on Wednesday. The push to dump Cheney as the No. 3 House Republican stems from her open sparring with former President Donald Trump and refusal to abide his lie that he actually won the 2020 election.

"We are a big tent party," McCarthy told his colleagues. "And unlike the left, we embrace free thought and debate." He added that he has "endeavored" to lead the House Republicans by "putting the interests of our members ahead of my own." The thing to remember, Politico's Playbook team noted Tuesday, is "that this is about one man's ambitions," and some House Republicans are now "privately griping" about how McCarthy "has fed a colleague to the MAGA wolves in his quest to become speaker."

"McCarthy has made a gamble that he needs Donald Trump on his side to win the speakership, and his decision to turn on Cheney is winning him at least some favor with the former president," though Trump "is still lukewarm on McCarthy, we're told, and loyalty with Trump often runs only one way," Politico reports. The behind-the-scenes "backlash" against McCarthy over this situation isn't just coming "from Adam Kinzinger types."

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One House Republican seen as an ally of leadership told Politico Monday night he may now oppose McCarthy for speaker should Republicans flip the House. "Kevin McCarthy has pissed off enough members of his own conference" that "I'd be worried if I was him," the Republican said. "You have people like me" who are "disgusted with the internal squabbling that results from having weak leadership. And it is weak leadership. Straight up."

A senior GOP aide to a conservative House member said McCarthy has "flip-flopped" on whether the Jan. 6 Capitol siege was "Trump's fault, it's not Trump's fault," adding, "It seems like he doesn't have the backbone to lead." You can read about why other House Republicans are upset with McCarthy over the Cheney situation at Politico.

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