WASHINGTON – Amid division over the future of the Republican Party, GOP members of Minnesota's U.S. House delegation trod carefully after Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney was removed from her House leadership post.
Wednesday's decision came after Cheney continued to push back against former President Donald Trump's baseless claims that the 2020 election was stolen from him.
Shortly after the vote, Rep. Michelle Fischbach, a freshman GOP lawmaker representing western Minnesota, said in a statement that "our conference has lost faith in Congresswoman Cheney's ability to look to the future and advance our collective priorities."
As Republican lawmakers left Wednesday's meeting, Minnesota Rep. Pete Stauber was on his phone and didn't stop to comment on the GOP decision.
Later in the day, Stauber, who represents northeastern Minnesota, indicated he voted to remove Cheney, saying in a statement he supports New York Rep. Elise Stefanik as Cheney's replacement in leadership.
"I along with my Republican colleagues stand united in our mission to create a brighter future for the American people and preserve American greatness," Stauber said.
Republicans have been divided over Cheney's criticism of the former president for months.
Many Republicans have tried to unify behind the former president as they mount new attacks on President Joe Biden's agenda.
The House GOP's campaign arm sent a response Wednesday following the vote on Cheney, with Minnesota Rep. Tom Emmer, head of the National Republican Congressional Committee, saying he is "solely focused on retaking the majority and firing Nancy Pelosi."
Rep. Jim Hagedorn's office didn't respond to a request for comment.
Trump's baseless attacks on the 2020 presidential election have held some sway with Minnesota's four House Republicans in the past.
Last December, Emmer, Stauber and Hagedorn signed on to a last-ditch legal attempt that failed to invalidate 62 of President Joe Biden's Electoral College votes.
Following the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, Fischbach and Hagedorn objected to certifying Biden's election victory. Stauber and Emmer did not vote in support of those objections.
In a speech on the House floor Tuesday night, Cheney laid bare her deep concerns with Trump's election conspiracies and what it means for the Republican Party.
At one point, she warned that Trump "risks inciting further violence."
"Remaining silent and ignoring the lie emboldens the liar," Cheney said in her speech. "I will not participate in that. I will not sit back and watch in silence while others lead our party down a path that abandons the rule of law and joins the former president's crusade to undermine our democracy."
Staff writer Stephen Montemayor contributed to this report.
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