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GOP Rep. Banks: Liz Cheney is a ‘distraction’ and must be ousted

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​Rep. Jim Banks said Sunday that fellow Republican Liz Cheney must be ousted from her No. 3 leadership position in the House because her criticisms of former President Donald Trump have become a “distraction” from the GOP’s opposition to the Biden administration’s “radical” agenda.

“Republicans are almost completely unified in a single mission to oppose the radical, dangerous Biden agenda and win back the majority in the midterm election. And any other focus other than that is a distraction from stopping the Biden agenda from what it — what it’s already done in three months,” Banks (R-Ind.) said on “Fox News Sunday.”

“That’s our focus as a House Republican conference. And any leader who’s not focused on that … needs to be replaced,” he said.

House Republicans are scheduled to vote Wednesday morning on Cheney’s fate.

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Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), who rose to prominence as one of Trump’s impeachment defenders earlier this year, is expected to replace the Wyoming lawmaker and daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney.

Rep. Liz Cheney
Rep. Liz Cheney has spoken out against former President Donald Trump.
Getty Images

Cheney, who voted to impeach Trump over his role in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, has stoked controversy inside the Republican Party by continuing to speak out against Trump’s claims that the presidential election was stolen.

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But some conservative groups have come out against Stefanik, noting that she holds more moderate positions than Cheney.

Fox News’ anchor Chris Wallace grilled Banks on the differences in Stefanik’s and Cheney’s voting records in the House, noting that the conservative group Heritage Action gave Cheney an 80 percent record and Stefanik a 48 percent record.

Wallace said it appears that Cheney is more conservative and questioned whether she’s being ousted simply because she’s “not as loyal to Donald Trump?”

Banks, the leader of the influential Republican Study Committee, said that “completely misses the point” about why they want a change in leadership.

He said Republicans should be united in focus to win back the majority in 2022.

“And, at this point, the reason, Chris, that you and I are talking about Liz Cheney on this important program on Sunday morning is the exact evidence that she’s failed in her mission as the chief spokesperson of our party. We shouldn’t be talking about Liz Cheney, we should be talking about pushing back against the radical Biden agenda,” he said.

“Why are you unwilling to discuss her criticism of President Trump?” Wallace continued.

“I’m not,” Banks responded.

Liz Cheney
Cheney voted to impeach Trump over the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
AP

But Banks said he wanted to make it clear to Wallace and the viewers that “we’re not kicking her out of the Republican Party if she’s removed from her leadership post.”

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As a leader Cheney doesn’t represent just her Wyoming district, he said she represents “212 members of the Republican conference and right now it’s clear that she doesn’t represent the views of the majority of our conference or the focus that all of us have to win back the majority.”

Wallace continued to push Banks, finally asking “is Joe Biden the legitimate president of the United States?”

“Yes, Joe Biden was elected. He was inaugurated on Jan. 20,” Banks said.

“Is it a lie that the election was stolen? Did he contribute to the insurrection on the Capitol?” Wallace said.

“I’ve never said that the election was stolen. I’ve said I have very serious concerns with how the election was conducted last November because of COVID rules that loosened voter identification laws. That’s why I objected on Jan. 6. I’ll never apologize for that,” Banks said, referring to how he and other Republicans objected to certifying the Electoral College votes for Biden.

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