The top Republican in the U.S. House is trying to oust from leadership a staunch conservative whose sole sin, from the perspective of the new Grand Old Party, has been honesty, standing up to Donald Trump's corrosive, anti-democratic lies about the 2020 election.

All Republicans who want to keep their party from going off the cliff should call 202-225-2915 and tell Kevin McCarthy to back off Liz Cheney. For good measure, call 202-225-4611 and give an earful to staffers for Elise Stefanik, the election-result-denying New York rep who's jockeying to take Cheney's place. McCarthy's claim Tuesday that he'd "heard from members concerned about her ability to carry out the job as conference chair" — while being caught on a hot mic saying "I've had it with her" — is the clearest signal yet that he aims to exile Cheney to the backbenches, if not beyond.

This is no normal internecine political dispute, of which both national parties have their share as they each seek to stay dry and warm under sizable tents. The last president, who is intent on continuing to dominate the GOP whether or not he becomes its 2024 nominee, expects every Republican member of the House and Senate to parrot his false claims that a vast left-wing conspiracy rigged the election in favor of Joe Biden — in other words, to insist that the current executive branch is the fruit of an illegal coup.

That's the exact swill Trumpites were imbibing when they stormed the U.S. Capitol to stop the counting of electoral votes on Jan. 6. It's the only way Trump, whose mendacity animates his followers' grievances, which is what gives him his power, can countenance having lost to the current president. He lied about Barack Obama's birth certificate to deem his predecessor illegitimate, and now lies about mail ballots and corrupt vote counters to deem his successor so.

If McCarthy gets his way, he'll defenestrate the most prominent congresswoman who cares about extracting that poison from Republican veins. He must fail.

FROM AN EDITORIAL IN THE NEW YORK DAILY NEWS