Cheney’s rival backs Trump’s election demands in Republican leadership race

Republican challenging Liz Cheney for a leadership role in the party repeated Donald Trump’s false claims that the 2020 election remains uncertain, pointing to how loyalty to the former president has become the litmus test for advancement within of the caucus.

Elise Stefanik, 36, a congresswoman from New York, prepares to be elected president of the next Republican conference in the House of Representatives as Cheney faces request its withdrawal of the post because of its categorical rejection of allegations that the election was stolen.

Trump on Wednesday endorsed Stefanik for the role, which would make her the party’s oldest woman on Capitol Hill, calling her a “tough and intelligent communicator.” He also attacked Cheney as “a hawkish fool who has nothing to do with the leadership of the Republican Party,” in a statement issued by his Save America political action committee.

The next day, Stefanik appeared on a podcast hosted by Steve Bannon, former Trump adviser, and said she “fully” supports Republican efforts to audit election results in Arizona, a shaky state that Joe Biden won in November. Trump and his allies have sought to cast doubt on the poll despite multiple recounts.

Asset forgiven Bannon shortly before leaving the White House after federal prosecutors in New York City accused the former White House strategist of defrauding hundreds of thousands of Trump supporters.

“Transparency is a good thing,” Stefanik told Bannon. “We need to resolve these electoral security issues.”

Cheney’s fading influence was also highlighted Trump’s lingering influence in the Republican Party six months after his electoral defeat.

A staunch neoconservative and daughter of former Republican Vice President Dick Cheney, she has said she will not support Trump if he runs for the White House again in 2024.

The 54-year-old Wyoming Republican voted to impeach Trump for his role in the January 6 attack on the US Capitol which killed five people. She has since spoken out against the former president on several occasions and advocated for Republicans to accept the election results.

After months of hemorrhagic support from fellow Republicans, Cheney faces being kicked out of her leadership role as the third House Republican as early as next week.

Stefanik, whose largely rural district includes much of the country in upstate New York, has openly campaigned to fill the vacancy created by Cheney’s expected defenestration.

A Harvard University graduate who worked in the George W Bush administration and then advised former House Speaker Paul Ryan, Stefanik became a staunch supporter of Trump during the first impeachment inquiry of the former president in 2019. Investigation focused on Trump’s efforts to pressure the Ukrainian president to detail Biden and his family.

In a veiled blow to Cheney, Stefanik told Bannon that the Republican Party is “a team and that means working with the president,” a reference to Trump, not Biden.

Cheney, meanwhile, showed no sign of backing down despite losing support from Kevin McCarthy and Steve Scalise, the number one and two House Republicans, respectively.

In one editorial This week in the Washington Post, Cheney warned his party was “at a crossroads,” adding, “Republicans must decide whether we are going to choose truth and loyalty to the Constitution.”

“History is watching. Our children are watching. We must be courageous enough to stand up for the basic principles that underpin and protect our freedom and our democratic process, ”Cheney wrote. “I pledge to do it, regardless of the short-term political consequences.”

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