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Stefanik poised for GOP leadership role, garners Trump’s support

Rep Elise Stefanik speaks before President Donald Trump, right, signs the John McCain National Defense Authorization Act for the 2019 fiscal year in August 2018 at Wheeler-Sack Army Air Field, Fort Drum. (Provided photo — Daytona Niles, Watertown Daily Times)

Rep. Elise Stefanik is on the path to move up in Washington after securing key endorsements in a bid to take over as chair of the House Republican Conference, the number-three spot in House Republican leadership.

Stefanik, R-Schuylerville, was endorsed for the position by former President Donald Trump in a Wednesday morning statement, which came shortly after the number-two House Republican, Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., also officially endorsed her.

Stefanik has reportedly been calling around to other GOP legislators to win their support, as current House Republican Conference Chair Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., loses support over her ongoing criticisms of Trump, his treatment of the 2020 election and his role in the Jan. 6 Capitol riots. Stefanik and her staff declined to comment for this story.

A senior Republican aide with insight into the leadership moves said Wednesday that House Republicans are prepared to vote to remove Cheney and replace her with Stefanik by the middle of next week.

“The cake is almost baked,” the aide said.

Liz Cheney talks with Wyoming Rep. Tom Reeder before the start of the annual Wyoming Retail Association meeting on May 23, 2013, at the Parkway Plaza Hotel and Convention Center in Casper, Wyoming. She was elected Wyoming's member of the U.S. House of Representatives in 2016. (AP Photo — Dan Cepeda, Casper Star-Tribune)

The aide added that Cheney isn’t being removed from her position solely because of her stance on the former president and his false claims about the 2020 election, but because GOP leaders see her as too focused on the issue, unable to move on or unify the party behind a clear message.

Trump, in his endorsement of Stefanik, denounced Cheney as a “warmongering fool” and said Stefanik presents a far better path forward for the Republican Party.

“Elise Stefanik is a far superior choice, and she has my complete and total endorsement for GOP Conference Chair,” he said. “Elise is a tough and smart communicator!”

Cheney, the daughter of former Vice President Richard “Dick” Cheney, has been a vocal critic of Trump and his baseless narrative that the 2020 election was stolen by Democrats. Cheney publicly said she believes Trump should have no role in the party moving forward, after supporters of his broke into the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 in an attempt to stop the final, congressional certification of the 2020 presidential election.

For her part, Stefanik has largely supported the president and his narrative about the 2020 election. She was one of 139 GOP representatives to vote against certifying the election results from Pennsylvania, and intended to oppose more states’ results before the Capitol riot put an end to those efforts. Stefanik has also worked closely with GOP leadership for years and used her own political action committee, E-PAC, to help elect a record number of Republican women to Congress in 2020.

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