May 13, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Liz Cheney: McCarthy's visit to Mar-a-Lago after Jan. 6 was "really stunning"

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) told NBC's "Today" that GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy's January visit to Mar-a-Lago to see former President Trump after the Capitol riots was "really stunning."

Why it matters: Now that she has officially been ousted as House GOP conference chair, Cheney plans to lean even harder into her criticism of Trump and those she thinks are continuing to enable him — including McCarthy.

  • McCarthy said on Jan. 13, during a debate over impeaching Trump, that the former president "bears responsibility" for what happened at the Capitol. Weeks later, on Jan. 28, he visited Trump's golf club in Florida to make amends.
  • McCarthy initially backed Cheney in the first attempt to oust her from GOP leadership, but he eventually supported her removal this past week after she declined to keep silent on her criticism of Trump's lies about the election.

What they're saying: "I think that he is not leading with principle right now. And I think that it is sad and I think it's dangerous," Cheney told NBC's Savannah Guthrie when asked whether McCarthy was putting his ambitions to become House speaker over his principles.

  • "Leader McCarthy's visit to the former president at Mar-a-Lago was really stunning, given what the former president did," she added.
  • "He's not just a former president. He provoked an attack on the Capitol, an attack on our democracy. And so I can't understand why you would want to go rehabilitate him."

The big picture: Cheney explained Trump's hold over the Republican Party as a "cult of personality." She said she would not leave the party, and that she would continue fighting to bring it back to substance and principle.

  • Cheney added that she knows her father, former Vice President Dick Cheney, is proud of what she's doing.

Go deeper: Liz Cheney's plan to take on Trump

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