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Liz Cheney pens op-ed urging GOP to 'steer away' from 'Trump cult of personality'

William B. Plowman/NBC/NBC Newswire/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

House Republican Conference Chairwoman Rep. Liz Cheney (Wyo.) is urging her party to "steer away" from the "Trump cult of personality" as she faces being ousted from her leadership position — and possibly even her House seat — over her criticisms of former President Donald Trump.

What are the details?

In a piece published in The Washington Post on Tuesday afternoon, Cheney asserted that "the GOP is at a turning point" and "history is watching us."

Cheney wrote in her opening:

In public statements again this week, former president Donald Trump has repeated his claims that the 2020 election was a fraud and was stolen. His message: I am still the rightful president, and President Biden is illegitimate. Trump repeats these words now with full knowledge that exactly this type of language provoked violence on Jan. 6. And, as the Justice Department and multiple federal judges have suggested, there is good reason to believe that Trump's language can provoke violence again. Trump is seeking to unravel critical elements of our constitutional structure that make democracy work — confidence in the result of elections and the rule of law. No other American president has ever done this.

She argued toward the end:

"We Republicans need to stand for genuinely conservative principles, and steer away from the dangerous and anti-democratic Trump cult of personality. In our hearts, we are devoted to the American miracle. We believe in the rule of law, in limited government, in a strong national defense, and in prosperity and opportunity brought by low taxes and fiscally conservative policies."

The op-ed comes amid reports that Republicans are seeking to boot Cheney from her post as the third-ranking Republican in the caucus, over her insistence that Trump — a popular figure in the GOP — is dishonest and bad for the party. The front-runner for replacing Cheney is purportedly Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), a staunch Trump loyalist.

Trump, who has repeatedly fired back at Cheney, issued a statement the same day as her op-ed, writing:

"Liz Cheney is a warmongering fool who has no business in Republican Party Leadership. We want leaders who believe in the Make America Great Again movement, and prioritize the values of America First. Elise Stefanik is a far superior choice, and she has my COMPLETE and TOTAL endorsement for GOP Conference Chair. Elise is a tough and smart communicator!"

But not all conservatives are on board with Stefanik, either.

After several Republicans voiced their support for Stefanik being elevated to replace Cheney, the Club for Growth tweeted, "Elise Stefanik is NOT a good spokesperson for the House Republican Conference. She is a liberal with a 35% [Club for Growth Foundation] lifetime rating, 4th worst in the House GOP. House Republicans should find a conservative to lead messaging and win back the House Majority."

Gabriel Sterling — a top election official in Georgia who has also taken heat from fellow Republicans over the handling of the general election in the state — argued, "Liz Cheney is more conservative on issues than Elise Stefanik. Cheney voted with Pres. Trump's agenda more than Stefanik. Cheney doesn't support Trump's Big Lie that the election was stolen, Stefanik does. This isn't about philosophy...it's about personality and ego alone."

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