House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is trying to patch things up within the GOP after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) called QAnon-supporting Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene a "cancer" on the Republican party - while showering praise on Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY).
Cheney, meanwhile, has faced calls to step down from her role as conference chairman, after members of the House Freedom Caucus, led by Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ), argued that Cheney hasn't represented the views of most GOP lawmakers - and voted to impeach former President Trump.
McCarthy now faces a delicate balancing act between the factions - between committee assignments for Greene, a freshman rep, and Cheney, an establishment darling.
The problem for McCarthy is that Greene has the backing of Trump, who remains the dominant force in the party and whom Republicans will need to help excite the base to win back the House and Senate in next year’s midterm elections.
McCarthy will sit down with Greene as early as Tuesday, though he’s given no indication about what he’s decided.
On Wednesday, McCarthy will lead a gathering of rank-and-file Republicans — a private “family meeting” — as conservatives plot to oust Cheney from the No. 3 leadership post. -The Hill
On Tuesday, McCarthy and other GOP lawmakers will travel to Houston to rail against President Biden's "job-killing" energy policies, just days after the GOP lawmaker accused Biden of dragging his feet on reopening schools, and knocked the president for providing COVID-19 vaccinations to Guantánamo Bay prisoners.
Meanwhile, House Freedom Caucus Chairman Andy Biggs and Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-MT), are circulating a petition calling for Cheney to step down. In order to remove her by vote, at least two-thirds of Republicans would need to be on board. Otherwise, the issue will all to an ad hoc committee which would likely be filled with Cheney loyalists.
Multiple lawmakers said they expect Wednesday’s meeting to be “tense,” pointing to a similar one last summer during which conservatives and Cheney quarreled over her decision to support the primary opponent of conservative Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), which she later retracted after controversial comments from the candidate emerged.
“I think you’ll have, you know, three constituencies in our conference — those who want to drive out the populists, those who want to drive out the establishment and those who simply want peace,” Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), one of the ringleaders trying to oust Cheney, told The Hill on Monday.
It’s nearly two years before voters go to the polls for the midterms, but the divisions are a worry for the party.
McCarthy has sought to get members to stop attacking one another, but his calls for unity have been unsuccessful amid the tensions over the deadly riot at the Capitol and Trump’s impeachment.
Gaetz flew to Cheney’s home state last week and rallied hundreds in support of her removal. -The Hill
Furthering the GOP divide is Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), who has vowed to launch a political action committee taking aim at Republicans who align with Trump and/or embrace "poisonous conspiracies and lies."
"As conservatives, it is up to us to hold this administration accountable to do the right thing for all Americans," said McCarthy in a recent letter to GOP colleagues. "We must measure every appropriate proposal from the Biden administration with one simple question: will it help? Will it help restore our way of life, rebuild our economy, or renew the American dream?"
McCarthy will be joined on Tuesday in Houston by GOP Reps. Kevin Brady, Dan Crenshaw, Brian Babin, Michael McCaul, Randy Weber, Michael Cloud and Troy Nehls - along with first-term Reps. Stephanie Bice (R-Okla.) and Yvette Herrell (R-N.M.), according to The Hill.
Democrats, meanwhile, are piling on to the GOP schism - with House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries (NY) saying "The House Republican Conference has been infected by the QAnon caucus, the conspiracy caucus and the cover-up caucus at the same time, and Kevin McCarthy continues to bury his head in the sand and sees fit to go play footsie with Donald Trump down in Mar-a-Lago" in a recent comment on MSNBC.
"That’s disgraceful. He is embarrassing, and he’s a pathetic excuse of a leader."