President Donald Trump took a swipe at House Republican Conference Chairwoman Liz Cheney on Thursday after two days of apparent dog-piling and infighting within the Republican party blamed on Cheney’s repeated criticism of the president.
Trump used his favorite communications avenue – Twitter – to go after the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney.
The in-fighting was sparked on Tuesday when several House Republicans verbally attacked Cheney during a meeting. The lawmakers involved in the confrontation Jim Jordan, Matt Gaetz, Chip Roy, Scott Perry and Ralph Norman. They reportedly cited Cheney’s support of Dr. Anthony Fauci, criticism of troop withdrawals from Germany and Afghanistan, and backing primary challengers to sitting congressmen as points of contention, subsequently going on social media to continue voicing their frustrations.
Donald Trump Jr. and Sen. Rand Paul also joined in the social media attacks.
In response, Cheney reiterated many of her stances and made clear she would not back down from any challengers inside or outside the Republican Party. She then called out Trump Jr. directly for his attack.
“Donald Trump Jr. Is not a member of the House Republican Conference,” Cheney said in a public statement. “I take my position in leadership very seriously.”
She goes on to reiterate her support for Fauci, who has been a regular target of criticism by Trump and the Republican party for his cautionary approach to the coronavirus pandemic.
“At this moment when we’re trying to find every way we can to defeat the virus, when we’re trying to find therapeutics and vaccines, we need all hands on deck, and I can’t imagine anybody better than Dr. Fauci to continue to play that role,” Cheney told reporters.
Other Republican members of the House have jumped to Cheney’s defense. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy was among the first to come to her defense after the initial barrage.
“We’re honored to have her as conference chair, and she does an amazing job,” McCarthy told CNN.
It has led to questions about the depth of the fissure within the Republican party. Some familiar with the altercation said it was an isolated incident involving a handful of officials while others said it’s the first glimpse of what a post-Trump Republican Party might look like.