Liz Cheney, Elisa Stefanik take shots at each other.
Republican Reps. Liz Cheney and Elise Stefanik went head-to-head on Sunday morning TV appearances — each accusing the other of focusing too much on the wrong president.
Stefanik, an upstate New York Republican who replaced Cheney after she was booted from House GOP leadership last week, said Cheney is “looking backwards” with her criticisms of former President Donald Trump’s actions during the Jan. 6 Capitol riot and his comments about fraud in the 2020 presidential election.
“Republicans are looking forward. We are unified. And we are talking about conservative principles. President Trump is an important voice in the Republican Party. We are working as one team,” Stefanik, who was elected the chair of the Republican Conference on Friday, said on Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures.”
“We are focused on moving forward. But, also, the stakes are so high. Look at how radical Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi’s policies have been. Joe Biden promised bipartisanship. We have yet to see any bipartisan legislation coming out of the Oval Office or the House,” said Stefanik, who then ticked off a series of Trump accomplishments that “helped everyday Americans.”
Cheney, who was ousted from her No. 3 leadership position last Wednesday by her Republican colleagues, was asked during an appearance on “Fox News Sunday” about Stefanik aligning herself with the former president.
“I think she’s wrong. You know, when you have a former president who did what Donald Trump did, who provoked an attack on our Capitol to try and stop the counting of electoral votes to try to steal the election, a former president who continues to threaten a democracy in the way that he is — he’s forfeited his opportunity,” she said.
Cheney, a longtime conservative from Wyoming and daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, argued the direction Stefanik and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy are taking the party will lead to ruin.
“As Republicans, especially, we have a responsibility to stand up and to say we believe in the Constitution, we will fight for that, we will fight for the rule of law and to build on that foundation so that we can get back to voters we lost in 2020. I mean that is really a key here,” Cheney said, noting Republicans lost majorities in the House and Senate as Trump lost the White House.
“We’ve got to get voters back so that we can get Republicans back into a position where our policies are the ones … necessary for the future of the nation,” she said.
Stefanik, whom Trump endorsed for the leadership post, said the key to winning back a majority next year is to ensure that elections are fair.
“When I go home to my district, and as I talk to my colleagues, this is the case across the country. Voters want to make sure that they have faith in our election system, which is why election integrity and election security is a top priority for the American people,” she said.
And it should matter to you, whether you’re Republican, Democrat, or independent. This is why you’re seeing state legislatures like Florida, like Arizona, taking action to address and strengthen their election systems. We need voter identification. We need chain of custody when it comes to the absentee mail-in ballots, signature verifications,” Stefanik said.
But Cheney accused Stefanik and McCarthy of being complicit in the “big lie” that the 2020 presidential election was rigged.
“And I’m not willing to do that. You know, I think that there are some things that have to be bigger than party, that have to be bigger than partisanship. Our oath to the Constitution is one of those,” Cheney told host Chris Wallace.
What’s happening right now with Donald Trump and his continued attacks on the Constitution and the rule of law is dangerous and we all have an obligation to stand up against that,” she continued.