Ahead of a vote to oust Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) from House Republican leadership, a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus sent a memo to every GOP office decrying her presumptive successor, Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), as a Democrat in Republican clothing.
Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) circulated a memo Tuesday asking the House Republican conference to reconsider elevating Stefanik to the role of conference chairwoman, a position responsible for messaging ahead of the 2022 midterm election. Citing her voting record, which was often contrary to the agenda of former President Donald Trump, Roy called on House Republicans to "choose someone who reflects our conservative values" to succeed Cheney.
"We must avoid putting in charge Republicans who campaign as Republicans but then vote for and advance the Democrats' agenda once sworn in," Roy wrote to his colleagues.
"Therefore, with all due respect to my friend, Elise Stefanik, let us contemplate the message Republican leadership is about to send by rushing to coronate a spokesperson whose voting record embodies much of what led to the 2018 ass-kicking we received by Democrats," he said.
On Monday, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said that the secret ballot vote to oust Cheney from leadership will happen Wednesday. Cheney has fallen out of favor with McCarthy and the rest of the Republican conference for her outspoken criticism of Trump — in news conferences, media interviews, and op-eds — which they feel is a distraction from their efforts to craft a message to win back control of the House of Representatives in the next election.
Cheney was one of 10 House Republicans to vote in favor of impeaching President Trump after the Jan. 6 violence at the U.S. Capitol building. She holds Trump responsible for inciting the violence with his statements contesting the results of the 2020 presidential election and has called on other Republicans to reject the former president's claims.
Trump himself, McCarthy, and GOP Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) have each endorsed Stefanik, a vocal Trump supporter, to succeed Cheney. But some Republicans and conservative activists have voiced opposition to Stefanik, citing her liberal voting record.
"Elise Stefanik is NOT a good spokesperson for the House Republican Conference," said the Club for Growth, a conservative grassroots organization. "She is a liberal with a 35% CFGF lifetime rating, 4th worst in the House GOP. House Republicans should find a conservative to lead messaging and win back the House Majority."
Roy's memo to House Republicans highlighted several of Stefanik's votes that put her in opposition to conservatives, including a vote against Trump's 2017 tax cuts; a vote to override Trump's funding of the border wall; a vote for the Equality Act; and "many other concerning votes and positions."
"The forgotten men and women of this country simply want us to stand up for them. Please tell me how we are sending a message today that we are standing up for them with a leadership-tapped colleague with that record as our spokesperson?" Roy wrote.
He warned Republicans that straying from Trump's America First Agenda is what cost them the House in 2018 and what might prevent them from winning it back in 2022.
He also demanded that Republicans "be clear that the media narrative" about why Cheney is being forced from leadership "is false."
"This is about her general failure to lead the conference — recognizing that real concerns with expanded mail-in ballots, lack of identification requirements, ballot harvesting, and the numerous ways to undermine elections — on a path forward to restore election integrity. This is the kind of unified "election" message that Liz unfortunately did not develop that we should embrace now."