The issue that consumed most of the political air in Washington, D.C., this week was over in a matter of minutes: Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney was removed as the GOP House Conference Chair by a voice vote.
One of the few voices raised against removing her was Colorado Rep. Ken Buck.
“Liz Cheney was canceled today for speaking her mind and disagreeing with the narrative that President Trump put forward,” the conservative from Windsor told reporters after the vote.
The reference to ‘cancelling’ Cheney came after Republicans took to the floor Tuesday night to discuss ‘cancel culture’. Buck gave part of his floor time to Cheney, letting her make a defiant speech on the eve of the vote to remove her from leadership. He was reportedly the only Republican to stay in the chamber for her remarks.
Buck said this narrative that the election was stolen is something that the Republican party will have to deal with at some point. “To suggest that the American people in 2022 won't consider the fact that we were unwilling to stand up to a narrative that the election was stolen, I think will be taken into consideration with their vote,” he said.
But Buck also pushed back against some of what Cheney has said. He argued that as a former president, Donald Trump should have a role in the future of the party, just as George W. Bush does.
His fellow Freedom Caucus member, freshman GOP Rep. Lauren Boebert, took a different view of Cheney. Her spokesman said Boebert supported removing Cheney as conference chair. “Rep. Cheney took her eye off the prize and was more focused on tearing down conservative leaders than she was advancing the conservative agenda,” Boebert communications director Ben Stout said.
And Cheney’s remarks on the floor or in the conference did little to change the Western Slope congresswoman’s mind.
After the vote, Boebert took to Twitter. On her official account, the Trump supporter said Cheney’s using her comments “to audition for a job as a CNN Commentator.” She tweaked the tweet slightly for her campaign account, writing “Liz Cheney seems to be auditioning for a job with the Lincoln Project.” The Lincoln Project is run by former and current Republicans who worked against Trump’s reelection.
Boebert later tweeted a fundraising appeal, noting that now that Cheney is out of leadership, it’s time to put new pressure on Democratic leaders.
Rep. Doug Lamborn has not revealed how he voted, but said in a statement that the issue was being used by the media to "drive a wedge in the Republican party."
While praising Cheney as a strong conservative and national security voice, Lamborn said, "Today’s vote was not about her impeachment vote, it was about the direction and future of the Republican conference and supporting the will of our voters."
Even Democratic Rep. Joe Neguse weighed in. He said via Twitter that Cheney was right, “the election was not stolen. America has not failed. And her decision to choose country over party will be applauded for years to come.”
Republicans are expected to vote on Cheney’s leadership replacement on Friday, with Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York the expected choice. And there’s one vote Stefanik is unlikely to get: Ken Buck’s.
He described her as “a liberal” and said he doesn’t not currently support her. But he did add Stefanik will be talking to Freedom Caucus members about her candidacy.
Editor's Note: This story has been updated with quotes from Rep. Lamborn.
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