Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Axios on your phone

Get breaking news and scoops on the go with the Axios app.

Download for free.

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

House Republicans ousted Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) as conference chair in a voice vote Wednesday, capping months of growing backlash over her criticisms of former President Trump, according to two sources in the room.

Why it matters: The stunning removal of the No. 3 House Republican over her condemnation of Trump's election lies reflects the influence the former president still retains over the GOP.

The big picture: The vote marks the most significant turning point in an internal party feud that is unlikely to subside any time soon.

  • A vote will be held Friday on Cheney's replacement, according to two sources familiar with the planning. Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) has received the endorsement of Trump, House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), and Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.).
  • Stefanik wasted no time on Wednesday in formally launching her bid for the role. She sent a letter to the conference shortly after the vote announcing her official candidacy. She is currently the only candidate running.

What we're hearing: Cheney now plans to lean even harder into her criticism of the former president and those she thinks are continuing to enable him — including McCarthy. She will fully embrace her role as chief Republican Trump critic and fighter for an alternative vision of the GOP’s future.

Behind the scenes: "I have tremendous affection and admiration for many of you in this room. I know we all came to Washington to do important work for the nation," Cheney told members at the start of the conference meeting, according to a source familiar with the remarks.

  • "We cannot let the former president drag us backward and make us complicit in his efforts to unravel our democracy. Down that path lies our destruction, and potentially the destruction of our country," she continued.
  • "If you want leaders who will enable and spread his destructive lies, I’m not your person, you have plenty of others to choose from. That will be their legacy."
Cheney speaking to reporters after the vote. Photo: Glen Johnson/Axios

Cheney then closed with a prayer: "Let us pray. Dear God, Fill us with a love of freedom and a reverence for all your gifts. Help us to understand the gravity of this moment. Help us to remember that democratic systems can fray and suddenly unravel. When they do, they are gone forever."

How we got here: Republicans have been unhappy with Cheney ever since she sided against Trump in his baseless claims of election fraud. She was one of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach the former president for inciting the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection.

  • In February, the GOP conference voted 145-61 in a secret ballot to fend off the first bid to oust Cheney from leadership.
  • House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy supported Cheney at the time and said she "got a resounding shot in the arm" with the vote, insisting that it showed the party was "united."
  • Since then, Cheney has continued to criticize Trump, who has re-emerged publicly after his election loss and tightened his grip over the Republican Party.

Earlier this month, Scalise came out publicly in favor of replacing Cheney with Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.). Trump soon followed his suit with his own endorsement.

  • Though McCarthy said publicly the House GOP had "no concern" about Cheney's vote to impeach Trump, he was caught on a hot mic saying he's "lost confidence" in her and "she's got real problems."
  • On Sunday, McCarthy made his position public and officially endorsed Stefanik to replace Cheney, telling Fox News that the GOP needs to be "united" with a conference chair who will consistently deliver the party's message.
  • Stefanik formally launched her bid for conference chair in a letter to House Republicans shortly after Wednesday's vote.

What they're saying: In her last public speech as conference chair, Cheney tore into the Republican Party's slide toward authoritarianism and said Trump's baseless claims of election fraud pose a threat that "America has never seen before."

  • "Remaining silent and ignoring the lie emboldens the liar. I will not participate in that."
  • "I will not sit back and watch in silence while others lead our party down a path that abandons the rule of law and joins the former president's crusade to undermine our democracy."

What's next: Cheney — a conservative who decided against running for Senate in Wyoming last year to remain in the House, where she had expected to continue to rise in leadership — has told associates she plans to run for re-election.

  • "I will do everything I can to ensure that the former president never again gets anywhere near the Oval Office," she told reporters after the conference meeting.

Go deeper: Inside Liz Cheney's game plan after being ousted from leadership

Go deeper

Liz Cheney's game plan

Cheney arrives at the Capitol for a vote yesterday. Photo: Evelyn Hockstein/AP

As she faces a vote to be thrown out of House Republican leadership, Rep. Liz Cheney has told associates she doesn’t plan on going anywhere — and plans to run for re-election.

What to watch: In the meantime, as she sees it, she will aggressively pursue a fight for the soul of the Republican Party, after an expected vote to strip her of her role as GOP conference chair, the party's No. 3 House post.

What Liz Cheney told House Republicans before her ouster from leadership

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) arriving on Capitol Hill on May 12. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

"If you want leaders who will enable and spread his destructive lies, I’m not your person, you have plenty of others to choose from," Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) told House Republicans before they voted to remove her as the party's conference chair on Wednesday.

Why it matters: In her address, Cheney promised that she "will be leading the fight to restore our party" and make it "worthy again of being the party of Lincoln," signaling that she doesn’t plan on going anywhere soon and will continue to be a voice of dissent in the party.

Liz Cheney: Trump is a threat “America has never seen before”

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) spoke on the House floor Tuesday evening, emphasizing the 2020 election was not stolen and saying that former President Trump's baseless claims of election fraud pose a threat that “America has never seen before.”

Why it matters: Much of the GOP establishment has turned on Cheney, the No. 3 House Republican, due to her criticism of Trump and her vote to impeachTrump for a charge of inciting an insurrection at the Capitol.