OPINION | politics

The problem isn’t her views on Donald Trump. It’s her relationships with fellow Republicans.

Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images


05/05/2021 06:15 PM EDT

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Eliana Johnson is editor in chief of the Washington Free Beacon.

To hear most media observers tell it, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) is being martyred for having the courage of her convictions, and the House Republican Conference can no longer abide her truth-telling. Republican lawmakers, the narrative goes, are campaigning to oust her from her leadership role as the No. 3 Republican in the House because she has continued to make Donald Trump’s false claims of election fraud the center of her public remarks.

But that is a partial understanding of the dynamics at work, which have more to do with the inside game essential to political survival in Washington, including Cheney’s ability—or inability, as the case may be—to cultivate the loyalty of colleagues, donors and friendly journalists. At this point, the conflict isn’t so much about Cheney’s principles; it’s about the way she’s gone about articulating them, publicly and privately.

In conversations with nearly a dozen GOP operatives and lawmakers, many of whom are now indifferent to or supportive of Cheney’s ouster, they say they are not unsympathetic to her views either on Trump or on foreign policy, where she is and always has been an important voice within the Republican Party. That’s in part why, just three months ago, Cheney beat back—by a convincing margin—an attempt to oust her from House leadership.

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