House Republicans ousted Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming on Wednesday from her leadership post as conference chair after she repeatedly called out former President Donald Trump’s “Big Lie” that the 2020 election was stolen.
The move sends a high-profile message about the Republican Party’s priorities, its ongoing loyalty to the former President and the limited extent to which it is willing to tolerate dissent even after Trump’s election lies incited a deadly attack on the US Capitol.
Prior to losing her leadership role, Cheney was the No. 3 House Republican and the highest-ranking of the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump for inciting an insurrection on January 6 when a violent pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol. The other nine House Republicans have also faced a backlash, including the threat of primary challenges over their impeachment votes as well as censure and calls for their resignation by state and local Republican groups.
Some of the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach, most notably Cheney and Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, have continued to speak out about the “Big Lie” and the future of the Republican Party now that Trump is no longer in office. Others have taken a much lower profile approach since the impeachment vote, not frequently commenting publicly, if at all, on the direction the party is taking in the aftermath of the Trump presidency.
Here’s a (non-exhaustive) look at what has happened to the nine other House Republicans since they voted to impeach and the extent to which they have continued to speak out about the deep divisions within the party in the aftermath of January 6:
Adam Kinzinger of Illinois
Adam Kinzinger has been in the national spotlight often since his impeachment vote as a leading critic of the Republican Party’s embrace of Trump’s “Big Lie” and other conspiracy theories. Kinzinger has spoken out in support of Cheney and criticized the GOP over the push to remove her from leadership.
“You cannot unite with lies, if somebody is going to use lies to gain power and say, ‘let’s have unity,’ you can’t do it,” Kinzinger said at an event earlier this week. “‘We need to remove Liz Cheney because she makes me have to answer questions that I know are false.’ That’s what they’re saying.”
Kinzinger said at the event that House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy and Whip Steve Scalise “decided that winning the next election was more important than a clear-eyed recognition of what happened on January 6.”
“That was a lie that led to violence,” he said.
The Illinois Republican recently launched a political action committee as part of an effort he’s calling “Country First” that seeks to counter the GOP’s embrace of conspiracy theories and the former President. The congressman has endorsed the nine other House Republicans who voted to impeach over the Capitol attack as they now face down the potential threat of primary challenges.
He also recently endorsed a Texas GOP congressional candidate, Michael Wood, who ran unsuccessfully in a crowded field on a platform calling for Republicans to turn away from Trump and reject conspiracy theories.
“I think what’s important is that people see there are people out there that support you, that will back you if you do the right thing,” Kinzinger told CNN of the endorsement. “It’s a long-term battle for the soul of the party.”
Kinzinger has been censured by several county GOP organizations in Illinois and drawn a pro-Trump primary challenger, Catalina Lauf, who has said she is running against him, arguing that he “betrayed his constituents” and criticizing his impeachment vote.
John Katko of New York
John Katko has faced criticism from local GOP leaders in his home state of New York as a result of his impeachment vote.
In the run-up to the vote to oust Cheney, Katko said that if there was a vacancy for the leadership post of House GOP conference chair he would support GOP Rep. Elise Stefanik, another New York lawmaker who now appears poised to be elevated to the position.
“I have every confidence that Elise will be a superb leader for all of our conference, not just some,” Katko told The Auburn Citizen, though he also called Cheney “a good friend.”
The congressman has stood by his impeachment vote, telling CNN in February, “Hell no,” when asked if he had any regrets over the vote to impeach Trump.
Fred Upton of Michigan
Fred Upton has also faced rebukes from Republicans at the state level following his impeachment vote.
Back in his home state of Michigan, the Allegan County Republican Party censured Upton for his vote, saying that he betrayed his “oath of office and core values” of the county party.
The Cass County Republican Party also censured the congressman over the impeachment vote.
“We believe Congressman Upton’s vote is a betrayal of his oath of office and core values of the Cass County Republican Party,” the resolution said, according to The Detroit News.
When he announced he would vote to impeach, Upton said in a statement, “The Congress must hold President Trump to account and send a clear message that our country cannot and will not tolerate any effort by any President to impede the peaceful transfer of power from one President to the next.”
Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington
In Jaime Herrera Beutler’s home state of Washington, the state’s Republican Central Committee passed a resolution condemning Trump’s impeachment “without question or exception” and expressing disappointment at Reps. Dan Newhouse, another Washington Republican who voted to impeach, and Herrera Beutler.
The congresswoman defended her vote to CNN in February, saying, “When push comes to shove, I’m gonna stand with the Constitution, which is why I actually I’m at peace with it.”
Herrera Beutler also said that she’s “not worried” about a potential primary challenger.
“There’s a lot of Republicans who disagreed with me on it, and I totally respect that,” Herrera Beutler said at the time. “They don’t expect you to agree with them on everything, but they want to be able to trust you.”
One would-be challenger, Joe Kent, describes himself as an “American First Republican” and has taken on the congresswoman specifically over her impeachment vote, saying that she “no longer represents our community’s values.”
Dan Newhouse of Washington
Despite the pushback he has faced, Dan Newhouse told CNN in February he does not have regrets about his vote.
“Can I say that’s a dumb question?” the congressman said when asked if he has any regrets about his vote after getting backlash from Trump supporters. “I do not regret it.”
At the end of January, Newhouse rebuffed a call for his resignation from a number of county GOP leaders.
“I am not resigning,” Newhouse said, according to the Spokesman-Review. “Many Republicans have agreed with my vote, and many have disagreed. For those who disagree with me on this issue, I hope they will remember my lifelong support for conservative causes and values.”
Peter Meijer of Michigan
Peter Meijer has spoken out about his concerns over the future of the Republican Party in the wake of January 6.
In a recent interview with CNN, Meijer expressed concern that baseless conspiracy theories like QAnon will destroy the GOP from within if Republicans don’t decisively and unequivocally condemn the false and dangerous beliefs and take action to stop their spread.
“When we say QAnon, you have the sort of extreme forms, but you also just have this softer, gradual undermining of any shared, collective sense of truth,” Meijer said. The Michigan freshman believes conspiracy theories fuel “incredibly unrealistic and unachievable expectations” and “a cycle of disillusionment and alienation” that could lead conservative voters to sit out elections or, in a worst-case scenario, turn to political violence, like what happened on January 6.
Meijer has been censured by GOP county groups in the state, and Tom Norton, the third-place finisher in a 2020 primary won by Meijer in western Michigan, has said he is running again, citing the congressman’s impeachment vote.
Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio
Anthony Gonzalez defended Cheney for standing up for her beliefs ahead of the vote to remove her.
“If a prerequisite for leading our conference is lying to our voters, then Liz is not the best fit,” Gonzalez said. “Liz is going to be honest, straight up and going to stand her own ground.”
Trump has already endorsed a primary challenger to Gonzalez, an early sign of the former President’s plans to exert his influence on Republican primaries ahead of the 2022 midterm elections and retaliate against Republicans who have gone against him.
“Current Rep. Anthony Gonzalez should not be representing the people of the 16th district because he does not represent their interest or their heart. Max Miller has my Complete and Total Endorsement!” Trump said in a statement in February.
Miller announced his campaign for Ohio’s 16th District in February, writing on Twitter, “I’m running for Congress to stand up for Northeast Ohioans. They overwhelmingly voted for the America First agenda. But their Congressman betrayed them when he voted to impeach President Trump.”
The Ohio Republican Party Central Committee voted last week to both censure and call for the resignation of Gonzalez.
Tom Rice of South Carolina
Tom Rice has also faced headwinds in his home state over his impeachment stance.
The South Carolina Republican Party voted in January to formally censure Rice, who had not been expected to vote for impeachment but who explained after his vote that the President’s response to the riot led him to cross the aisle.
When reached by CNN on Tuesday ahead of the vote to remove Cheney from leadership, Rice said, “I think I’ve commented enough for a while.”
Rice told CNN in February he stood by his vote to impeach. “In eight years in Congress, I probably had a hundred votes that I could have gone either way, and I maybe second-guessed a little bit,” he said. “This is not one of them.”
David Valadao of California
David Valadao of California has also had to grapple with the potential threat of a primary challenge.
The “issues” page on a website launched by former Fresno City Councilman Chris Mathys, who has said he’ll take on Valadao, includes just three sentences, all targeting the congressman’s impeachment vote.
“President Trump has fought on our behalf to protect our conservative, republican values,” the website states. “It is unbelievable that Congressman David Valadao would vote for the impeachment of President Donald Trump. I will do everything to restore our conservative values and make sure America never becomes a socialist country.”
CNN’s Alex Rogers, Kristin Wilson, Manu Raju, Eric Bradner, Dan Merica and Caroline Kelly contributed to this report.