McCarthy after ousting Cheney: ‘I don’t think anybody is questioning the legitimacy of the presidential election’

McCarthy after ousting Cheney: ‘I don’t think anybody is questioning the legitimacy of the presidential election’

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy on Wednesday papered over the significant skepticism of the 2020 presidential election within the GOP just hours after his conference deposed Rep. Liz Cheney for criticizing fellow Republicans over that very issue.

“I don’t think anybody is questioning the legitimacy of the presidential election,” McCarthy said after meeting with President Joe Biden at the White House alongside other congressional leaders.

McCarthy’s comments run counter to the the campaign he greenlighted to boot Cheney (R-Wyo.), until today the GOP’s highest-ranking woman, from her role as conference chair. Cheney put herself at odds with former President Donald Trump and his wing of the party after openly admonishing him for repeatedly perpetuating false claims about the 2020 elections and his role in inciting a deadly riot at the Capitol in January.

“We have seen the danger that he continues to provoke with his language,” Cheney told reporters after Wednesday’s closed-door vote. “We have seen his lack of commitment and dedication to the constitution. And I think it’s very important that we make sure whomever we elect is somebody who will be faithful to the constitution.”

Trump has shown little indication that he has accepted that his loss to Biden was legitimate, and many of the former president’s supporters have parroted his lies about last year’s elections.

On Tuesday night, Trump issued a statement touting a proposed voter ID requirement in the United Kingdom, adding that the U.S. should adopt something similar “so we never again have an election rigged and stolen from us.”

McCarthy and others have argued Cheney had become a distraction and a hindrance to party unity, particularly as the No. 3 role is responsible for GOP messaging, among other duties.

“Each day spent re-litigating the past is one less day we have to seize the future,” McCarthy wrote in a letter to Republican colleagues prior to the vote. “If we are to succeed in stopping the radical Democrat agenda from destroying our country, these internal conflicts need to be resolved so as not to detract from the efforts of our collective team.”

The minority leader is keenly interested in taking over the speaker’s gavel and views Trump’s continued support as key to Republicans winning in the 2022 midterms. As such, McCarthy has embraced gambits such as objecting to certifying Biden’s victory in two states — a move seen as an attempt to overturn Trump’s loss and appeal to the former president — while denying that doing so delegitimizes Biden.

“I think that is all over with,” McCarthy said outside the White House. “We’re sitting here with the president today.”

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