Tensions Between Cheney, McCarthy Boil Over at House GOP Retreat House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) answers questions during a press conference at the U.S. Capitol on January 09, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Win McNamee/Getty)
By Jim Thomas | Tuesday, 27 April 2021 05:28 PM
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., are still at odds over former President Donald Trump’s future role in the party following the GOP’s annual policy retreat meant to unite the conference, reports the New York Post.
Tensions boiled over during the event in Orlando with McCarthy going after Cheney during a press conference Tuesday.
“I think from a perspective if you’re sitting here at a retreat that’s focused on policy, focused on the future of making America the next century and you’re talking about something else, you’re not being productive,” he told reporters at a press conference.
McCarthy said Cheney's statements distract from the GOP’s policy goals by her incessant need to criticize the former president.
McCarthy’s comments followed Cheney’s announcement Monday that she would not rule out a run for president, which would set her in opposition to Trump for the Republican nomination in 2024.
McCarthy added that her running for president is “a question for the conference” to answer, whereby they would determine if she was a good fit for their leadership team.
During a conference-wide vote in February, the California Republican previously urged members to support Cheney when she faced removal from her role as House Republican conference chair.
She ultimately prevailed in a 145-61 vote to retain her position, reported the NY Post.
McCarthy also no longer attends their weekly joint leadership press conferences, evidence of further weaknesses in the working relationship between Cheney and McCarthy in recent months.
That decision by McCarthy was apparent when the two clashed in February over whether Trump should speak at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference.
Cheney — a defense hawk and the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney — has repeatedly said she does not believe Trump should have a place in the party moving forward, reported the Post.
Her passionate anti-Trump rhetoric, including her “yea” vote to impeach the former president, has also put her at odds with several other colleagues who have accused her of providing Democrats with ammunition to go after other GOP members.
“People can have differences of opinion. … Liz has a right to vote her conscience. And at the end of the day, we’ll be united,” McCarthy said earlier this year about her vote to impeach Trump.
But Cheney has stood firm in her position, telling The Post on Monday she believes that the senators who helped lead the efforts on challenging the election results should be disqualified from running for the GOP presidential nomination in 2024 — adding that she is not ruling out a bid herself, reported the Post.
“I think we have a huge number of interesting candidates, but I think that we’re going to be in a good position to be able to take the White House. I do think that some of our candidates who led the charge, particularly the senators who led the unconstitutional charge, not to certify the election, you know, in my view, that’s disqualifying,” she said.
Despite the tensions, both leaders have claimed the party is more unified than not, with Cheney and McCarthy highlighting Republicans’ plans for border, energy and China policies.
On Tuesday, McCarthy remained noncommittal on whether he would help campaign for Cheney in her primary challenge. “I haven’t talked to her about it,” he said.
Trump was not invited to attend the retreat, reported the NY Post.