In a secret ballot measure on Wednesday night, House Republicans voted to keep Liz Cheney as the House Republican Conference Chair, the party’s third-highest position in the legislative body. After weeks of intra-party tension over the Wyoming representative’s decision to impeach Donald Trump for inciting an insurrection, her colleagues sided overwhelmingly in her favor, with a final tally of 145 to 61 votes. (One member, curiously, voted present on the secret ballot.)
Earlier on Wednesday, when Cheney was asked by CNN if she regretted her vote to impeach — one of ten House Republicans who did so — she said “absolutely not.” The network reported that she maintained that confidence during the meeting, even as it got contentious:
[Cheney] told members that she wanted a vote to be called on her leadership status, which was interpreted by some in the room as an act of confidence in her standing with a broader cross-section of Republicans, the majority of which did not air their grievances toward her.
Cheney also fielded several contentious questions and comments from Trump loyalists, a person in the room said, including Rep. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, who bluntly said she “aided and comforted the enemy.” Rep. Darrell Issa of California asked Cheney if they kept her in leadership, whether she would do it again. Rep. Matt Rosendale of Montana engaged in a fiery exchange with her, a person in the room said, speaking loudly and angrily at Cheney.
But the anger was not all aimed at Cheney. Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, who had also voted in favor of impeachment, voiced criticism of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a California Republican, during the meeting.
On Wednesday night, shortly before the vote began, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy decided not to condemn Georgia representative Marjorie Taylor Greene after multiple reports revealed that her ties to harmful conspiracies go far beyond the QAnon support for which she initially rose to national prominence. McCarthy also signaled that he would defend her in Thursday’s House vote to take away her committee assignments. At Wednesday’s summit, as McCarthy played naive about the influence of “Q-on” in his party, Greene also appeared to walk back previous suggestions that the Sandy Hook and Parkland shootings were staged and denied proposing an anti-Semitic conspiracy regarding space lasers and California wildfires:
Reading into the vote in support of the more traditional Cheney and the signal of tentative support for the new-school Taylor Greene, what did observers of Republican power-grappling in the House learn on Wednesday? With the status quo winning out, it appears the House GOP likes being exactly this dysfunctional.