WASHINGTON (BLOOMBERG) – US President Donald Trump attacked Representative Liz Cheney, the highest-ranking Republican woman in the US House, saying Thursday (Juy 23) she is “upset” because he is trying to end overseas wars.
Ms Cheney is the daughter of former Vice-President Dick Cheney, a major proponent of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and has broken with the president on foreign policy.
Mr Trump decided to join with conservatives in the House, who accused Ms Liz Cheney earlier this week of being disloyal to the president.
He later retweeted a post from Senator Rand Paul that also was critical of Ms Cheney. Mr Paul’s post shared a tweet from Florida Representative Matt Gaetz, a close ally of Mr Trump, that called on Ms Cheney to step down as head of the House Republican Conference, the third-ranking GOP leadership spot.
The president also retweeted conservative pundit Mollie Hemingway, who said some on the right were “extremely disappointed” in how she expressed concern about media reports that Russia offered bounties on US troops in Afghanistan.
Ms Cheney questioned whether Mr Trump was briefed on the bounty reports, and has generally called for a more aggressive posture toward Russia.
The intra-party fight erupted Tuesday during a closed-door meeting of lawmakers at the Capitol, but spilled out into the open after Mr Trump’s eldest son, Mr Donald Jr, went after Ms Cheney on Twitter.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy came to Ms Cheney’s defence later Tuesday, saying her fellow Republicans are “honoured to have her as conference chair.”
Ms Cheney downplayed the conflict, saying, “Freedom of speech is the right for all of us to have this kind of healthy debate and exchange.”
The Wyoming Republican has regularly supported Mr Trump’s agenda in Congress and vocally defended the president during impeachment.
The internal divisions among Republicans come just months before the November elections and as lawmakers are debating another coronavirus-related stimulus package.