Some GOP members of South Carolina's congressional delegation voted to oust U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney from Republican leadership, citing her criticism of former President Donald Trump and claiming she was no longer a unifying force in the political party.
During a 16-minute, closed-door meeting on May 12, Cheney was stripped of her role as GOP House Conference chair. A voice vote determined her fate, meaning there is no record of who supported or opposed the Wyoming congresswoman.
Six of the state's seven U.S. representatives are Republicans. Of these, four acknowledged they voted to oust Cheney and explained why. One of the Republicans, Rep. Tom Rice of Myrtle Beach, did not respond to The Post and Courier, and U.S. Rep. Nancy Mace of Charleston declined to comment about her vote. The lone Democrat in Congress from South Carolina is Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-Columbia.
U.S. Rep. William Timmons, R-Greenville, voted to oust Cheney and supported the House GOP Conference for doing so.
“Members are entitled to disagree," Timmons said. "In fact, disagreement is healthy. But the role of the Conference chair is to represent the majority views of the Republican Conference and help communicate our message, and Rep. Cheney’s message had become inconsistent with that of the conference."
U.S. Rep. Jeff Duncan, R-Laurens, wrote a large statement on Facebook criticizing Cheney and said he felt the Wyoming politician had lost touch with everyday Republican voters.
"When she spoke, as a leader, she should be cognizant that her words might be construed as reflecting the opinion/will of the whole Republican Conference," Duncan said in a Facebook statement. "They did not."
"In addition, she was defiant and showed no humility when a large majority of the Conference asked her to clarify, retract or differentiate between personal feelings and those of Republicans as a whole," he added.
While many Democrats pointed to Cheney's frequent critiques of Trump and Cheney's support for impeachment efforts against the former president, many Republicans claim that wasn't the main reason for her removal.
U.S Rep. Ralph Norman, R-Rock Hill, said Cheney had already survived a February vote related to her stance on impeachment. But now, Republicans saw more damage happening among the ranks.
"Rep. Cheney was removed because she allowed herself to become an icon of division within the Republican Party — a role that she appeared to embrace at times," Norman said in a statement.
U.S Rep. Joe Wilson, R-Columbia, voted to oust Cheney as well. A spokeswoman for the congressman said that "moving forward, the Republican Party needs a uniting Conference chair in order to address issues currently facing American families"
Wilson's spokeswoman also said he supports U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., to replace Cheney in the leadership role.
Rice was one of 10 Republicans, alongside Cheney, who voted to impeach Trump in January. Mace's first weeks in Washington were defined by her critiques of Trump following the violent Jan. 6 riot upon the Capitol.