OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
Consultants to GOP Rep. Liz Cheney, Wyoming’s only House member who has come to represent the anti-Trump faction of the Republican Party, are being told to drop her as a client or they themselves will be abandoned.
The New York Times reported Thursday that a major lobbyist in Washington, D.C., who is close to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., has warned GOP consultants that they will have to choose between him and Cheney, “an ultimatum that marks the full rupture between the two House Republicans.”
“Jeff Miller, the lobbyist and a confidant of Mr. McCarthy’s dating to their youthful days in California politics, has conveyed this us-or-her message to Republican strategists in recent weeks, prompting one fund-raising firm to disassociate itself from Ms. Cheney,” the Times added.
“In response, The Morning Group, a fund-raising firm she hired to help prepare for a primary next year against a challenger endorsed by former President Donald J. Trump, informed her last month they could no longer work on her campaign, according to Republicans familiar with the matter,” the paper said.
McCarthy and Cheney have been diverging for months, which began in earnest after she voted to impeach the then-lame duck Trump in January following the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol Building, which she has blamed him for inciting.
Afterward, McCarthy went along with calls for a large faction of the GOP to remove her from her post as House Republican Conference chair, the party’s No. 3 position in the chamber. Cheney was voted out in May and replaced by Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York.
The Times went on to suggest there is a strategic interest in pressuring Cheney’s consultants to drop her:
Mr. Miller’s warnings illustrate the disintegration of the relationship between the two lawmakers, who began this year serving together in the House Republican leadership. They also underline Mr. McCarthy’s willingness to wield his leadership position to undercut Ms. Cheney’s re-election and head off an impediment to his claiming the speakership, should Republicans win a House majority next year. Were Ms. Cheney to return to Congress, she would loom as a potential instigator of any effort to block Mr. McCarthy from leading their party in the House.
After initially defending Ms. Cheney to House Republicans angry at her for voting to impeach Mr. Trump earlier this year, Mr. McCarthy abandoned her after she continued to speak out against the former president.
Several of the party’s conservatives voiced concerns that Cheney should also be left out of GOP conference meetings since she and another anti-Trump Republican, Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, are both on the Democrat-controlled Jan. 6 Committee. The fear among some GOP members is that she and Kinzinger would reveal to the committee what was being discussed behind closed doors during party strategy sessions.
For his part, McCarthy — mindful of the former president’s continued grip on the party — also believes that Cheney’s continued diatribes against Trump will harm the entire party’s chances to retake at least the House during next year’s midterms.
“She’s not just undermining Kevin but the whole GOP conference,” Miller said of Cheney in an interview with the Times. “You’re either with Kevin, and the conference, or the person undermining them. You can’t serve two masters.”
A spokesman for Cheney hammered McCarthy, however, for working against her reelection.
“It’s sad but not surprising that Kevin McCarthy is continuing down the morally bankrupt path of embracing House Republicans who are white supremacists and conspiracy theorists, but attacking Liz Cheney for telling the truth and standing for the Constitution,” Jeremy Adler told the Times.
There are a number of Republicans who have lined up to challenge Cheney next year during the GOP primaries but Trump has endorsed Wyoming attorney Harriet Hageman.
“Unlike RINO Liz Cheney, Harriet is all in for America First. Harriet has my Complete and Total Endorsement in replacing the Democrats number one provider of sound bites, Liz Cheney. Make America Great Again!” he said.