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Top female Republican senator defends Rep. Liz Cheney, says she is victim of 'cancel culture'

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Republican Sen. Joni Ernst (Iowa) spoke out Monday against the effort to remove Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) from Republican Party House leadership, denouncing the campaign as "cancel culture."

Cheney, the No. 3 House Republican, has faced intense scrutiny from her Republican colleagues for being a vocal critic of former President Donald Trump.

Cheney voted to impeach Trump in January following the deadly U.S. Capitol riot on Jan. 6. Cheney has also requested accountability for Republicans who supported Trump's attempts to undermine the election results.

What did Ernst say?

Not only did Ernst allege Cheney is a victim of "cancel culture" by the crowd that often decries cancel culture campaigns, but she said Cheney is being silenced.

"I feel it's OK to go ahead and express what you feel is right to express and, you know, cancel culture is cancel culture no matter how you look at it. Unfortunately, I think there are those that are trying to silence others in the party," Ernst told reporters, the Hill reported.

Ernst's comments are particularly significant because the Iowa senator is the only other woman in Republican Party congressional leadership. Ernst serves as vice chairwoman of the Republican Senate Conference.

Monday was not the first time Ernst defended Cheney.

Last week, Ernst said that while she disagreed with Cheney about Trump, every person — including Cheney — has the right to express their opinion without threat of reprisal.

"I appreciate President Trump and I appreciate all he has done for our country. And I think we made significant strides forward under the Trump administration, especially in our economy. But everybody has the right to express their opinion," Ernst said, Politico reported.

"I know Liz. I appreciate Liz so much. And she feels very strongly about her stance. And again, I know many Republicans that feel very strongly about their stance: pro-Trump, not for Trump, whatever it is. But at the end of the day we have work to get done," she added.

In fact, Ernst even suggested the internal fighting may hurt the GOP.

Speaking of House Republicans, Ernst said, "They need to evaluate: Is this helping or hurting our party?"

What is Cheney's fate?

House Republicans will vote Wednesday on whether to remove Cheney from her leadership position as chairwoman of the House Republican conference.

Although she survived an attempt to remove her earlier this year, Cheney is almost certainly to lose this time around, as House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and House Minority Whip Steve Scalise have endorsed her ouster.

Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) is the most likely candidate to replace Cheney.

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