House GOP Votes to Keep Liz Cheney as Chair, Not Punish Marjorie Taylor Greene

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wy.) survived an attempt to remove her from a key GOP House leadership position for voting to impeach former President Donald Trump, while Republican leadership refused to take action against Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) on Wednesday.

House Republicans voted 145-61 against removing Cheney as chair of the House Republican Conference during a secret ballot vote on Wednesday night. Democrats plan to force a Thursday vote to strip House committee assignments from Greene, who has been heavily criticized for resurfaced social media activities in support of far-right extremism, despite GOP leadership failing act on the matter themselves.

Cheney holds the third highest ranking GOP leadership position in the House and was the most prominent of 10 Republicans who joined with Democrats in voting to impeach Trump over his alleged incitement of the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Trump is the only president in U.S. history to be impeached twice and will be facing an unprecedented second impeachment trial in the Senate starting next week.

Cheney, the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, has continued to defend for her vote to impeach Trump despite substantial outcry from loyalists of the former president. During a closed-door GOP meeting on Wednesday, she told colleagues "I won't apologize for the vote," according to an Associated Press report citing a person familiar with the session who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Greene was heavily associated with pro-Trump conspiracy theories like QAnon and Pizzagate prior to being elected to Congress last November. She has been under mounting pressure in recent days and weeks due to reporting on Facebook activities that appear to reveal her past support for extremist positions like advocating the murder of prominent Democrats including Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (Calif.).

Liz Cheney Marjorie Taylor Greene Trump Impeachment
Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wy.) is pictured walking inside the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. on February 3, 2021. Tasos Katopodis/Getty

Calls for the GOP to remove Greene from her committee assignments were rejected by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) after holding a meeting with the freshman congresswoman. McCarthy denounced Greene's social media activities but accused Democrats of refusing a "path to lower the temperature" in favor of a "partisan power grab."

"Past comments from and endorsed by Marjorie Taylor Greene on school shootings, political violence, and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories do not represent the values or beliefs of the House Republican Conference. I condemn those comments unequivocally," McCarthy said in a statement obtained by Newsweek. "I condemned them in the past. I continue to condemn them today. This House condemned QAnon last Congress and continues to do so today."

"I understand that Marjorie's comments have caused deep wounds to many and as a result, I offered Majority Leader Hoyer a path to lower the temperature and address these concerns," added McCarthy. "Instead of coming together to do that, the Democrats are choosing to raise the temperature by taking the unprecedented step to further their partisan power grab regarding the committee assignments of the other party. "

Since Democrats hold control of the House, they will likely not need McCarthy's support to pass their resolution stripping Greene of the committee assignments. A group of pro-Greene Republicans proposed an amendment to change the language of the resolution to apply to Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) instead.

While most House Republicans have muted criticism and not called for Greene to be punished for seemingly endorsing extremism, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has called her a "cancer for the Republican party."