Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell backed Sen. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) as supporters of former President Donald Trump continued their campaign to expel her from GOP leadership for voting in favor of his second impeachment.
“Liz Cheney is a leader with deep convictions and the courage to act on them,” McConnell said in a statement Monday to CNN.
“She is an important leader in our party and in our nation,” he added. “I am grateful for her service and look forward to continuing to work with her on the crucial issues facing our nation.”
Cheney was among the 10 Republicans who voted for the impeachment of former President Trump at the end of his term for incitement of insurrection. Democrats accused Trump of inciting the rioting at the U.S. Capitol that erupted when his supporters attempted to violently stop members of Congress from confirming the official results of the 2020 election.
Fervent allies of Trump have since excoriated Cheney and demanded her ouster from GOP leadership. Cheney is the third-highest ranking Republican.
The Republican Party of Wyoming voted unanimously to censure Cheney for her vote, and she has already drawn a primary challenge from a state lawmaker who accused her of out of touch with the will of the state’s residents.
Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz (R) held a small rally in Cheney’s home state on Thursday to lambast her and encourage her constituents to vote against her in the next election. Gaetz referred to Cheney as a “beltway bureaucrat turned fake cow girl” to the hundreds of supporters who showed up.
Some Republicans, like Sen. Chip Roy of Texas and former President George W. Bush, have defended Cheney from her critics.
Cheney will face her primary challenger in the election next year.