Kevin McCarthy, Liz Cheney spar over Trump CPAC speech and his future in the GOP

Dave Goldiner
New York Daily News

The Republican civil war over former President Donald Trump is far from over.

House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., briefly sparred at a news conference Wednesday over Trump and his future role in the GOP.

Asked about Trump’s upcoming speech at the Conservative Political Action Committee convention in Orlando, Florida, McCarthy suggested he can’t wait for the return of the GOP’s most popular leader.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., left, and Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., speak to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021.

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“Yes, he should 1/8 speak3/8 ,” McCarthy said curtly, turning quickly away from the reporter who asked the question.

But the reporter interjected by asking Cheney if she agreed.

“That’s up to CPAC,” said Cheney, who voted to impeach Trump over his role in the Jan. 6 storming of the Capitol. “I don’t believe that he should be playing a role in the future of the party or the country.”

McCarthy fidgeted uncomfortably with his notes as Cheney, the No. 3 Republican in the House, spoke.

When she was done, there was a brief silence. Then McCarthy signaled he was done talking about the former president.

“On that high note, thank you,” said McCarthy as he turned on his heel and left.

The back-and-forth suggests that it may not be easy for Republicans to paper over their deep differences over Trump, especially as the former president returns to public life.

After briefly criticizing Trump for his role in the Jan. 6 attack, McCarthy and the vast majority of GOP lawmakers have returned to supporting him. That stance has been backed by polls showing most Republican voters still back the former president.

Despite swimming against the political tide, Cheney and a few other critics have shown no sign of backing down from their fierce criticism of Trump.

Trump plans to make a splashy political return when he delivers the speech at CPAC, where he will likely enjoy a rapturous reception.