The Journal Gazette
Wednesday, May 12, 2021 4:40 pm

Banks: 'It was time for a change'

Niki Kelly | The Journal Gazette

U.S. Rep. Jim Banks, R-3rd, joined other House Republicans Wednesday in ousting Rep. Liz Cheney from her post as the chamber’s No. 3 GOP leader.

Cheney was punished after she repeatedly rebuked former President Donald Trump for his false claims of election fraud and his role in fomenting the Jan. 6 Capitol attack.

"The conference chair is responsible for leading the GOP’s communication efforts and it was time for a change," Banks said in a statement to The Journal Gazette.

Allen County Democratic Party Chairman Derek Camp said Banks "continued the party’s rapid move towards the partisan extreme today by removing Congresswoman Liz Cheney from her leadership position. Instead of trying to solve the tough issues like COVID-19, economic inequality, and failing infrastructure, Congressman Banks is willing to violate his oath to the constitution and lie to his constituents to appease an unpopular, former president and to continue his ascent in a broken Republican Party."

But Banks has other issues on his mind -- illegal border crossings, tensions in the Mideast, rising inflation and the price of gas, lumber and other commodities that have spiked.

"If Republicans can effectively communicate the disastrous consequences of the Biden administration’s agenda we will win back the House in 2022 and then we’ll be able to block Joe Biden and Speaker Pelosi’s radical policies and put America back on the right track," the congressman said. "Today, we’re one step closer to accomplishing that."

The vote to remove Cheney, R-Wyo., took place behind closed doors in less than 20 minutes.

She was Congress’ highest-ranking Republican woman and is a daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney. Her demotion was the latest evidence that challenging Trump can be career-threatening.

Cheney has refused to stop repudiating Trump and defiantly signaled after the meeting that she intended to use her overthrow to try pointing the party away from the former president.

"I will do everything I can to ensure that the former president never again gets anywhere near the Oval Office," she told reporters.

Cheney’s replacement was widely expected to be Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., who entered the House in 2015 at age 30, then the youngest woman ever elected to Congress. Stefanik owns a more moderate voting record than Cheney but has evolved into a vigorous Trump defender who’s echoed some of his unfounded claims about widespread election cheating.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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