President Donald Trump on Thursday lashed out at Rep. Liz Cheney, the third-ranking House Republican, promoting criticism from her conservative colleagues that she has not been sufficiently supportive of the White House’s agenda.
“Liz Cheney is only upset because I have been actively getting our great and beautiful Country out of the ridiculous and costly Endless Wars,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “I am also making our so-called allies pay tens of billions of dollars in delinquent military costs. They must, at least, treat us fairly!!!”
Trump’s tweet targeting the Wyoming congresswoman marks a further escalation of an intraparty dispute that erupted Tuesday during a heated closed-door meeting of the House Republican Conference.
Lawmakers from the GOP’s conservative wing, including Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) and Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), berated Cheney for breaking with the White House in recent weeks on issues related to international affairs and Trump’s coronavirus response.
Until Thursday, Trump had refrained from responding to Cheney’s criticisms. And even in his latest tweet, the president stopped short of calling for the congresswoman’s ouster from House leadership — a step some of Trump’s allies on Capitol Hill have advocated.
Cheney is the most senior female lawmaker in House Republican leadership.
Gaetz dragged his feud with Cheney into public view when he tweeted Tuesday that “House Republicans deserve better as our Conference Chair” and demanded that Cheney “should step down or be removed.”
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), an outspoken opponent of Cheney’s hawkish foreign policy, shared Gaetz’s message and tweeted that Republicans “should all join @realDonaldTrump in advocating to stop our endless wars.”
Cheney “not only wants to stay forever, she’s leading the fight to try to stop him from leaving. Unacceptable,” Paul wrote. On Thursday morning, the president shared that post by Paul, as well as two messages from Gaetz.
Trump also retweeted conservative commentator Mollie Hemingway, who attacked Cheney for questioning whether Trump was briefed on alleged intelligence of Russian bounties on U.S. troops in Afghanistan.
“FWIW, quite a few people in recent weeks who generally like Cheney — including those not on the Hill — were extremely disappointed with how she worked so hard to help the NYT spread its false anti-Trump story about Russia bounties,” Hemingway wrote.
Trump’s decision Thursday to wade into the GOP infighting comes in spite of Cheney’s attempts Wednesday to downplay any sense of discord between herself and the White House.
In an interview on “Fox & Friends,” Cheney said she votes in favor of Trump’s legislative priorities “something like 97 percent of the time,” and assessed that “in my experience, the president appreciates people who are direct, people who explain what they think.”