GOP Senator Ernst suggests party's effort to oust Cheney from House leadership is 'cancel culture'

Ernst, a member of GOP Senate leadership, pushes back against Republican House leadership's effort to oust Cheney.
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Sen. Joni Ernst.
Sen. Joni Ernst U.S. Capitol on April 29, 2021
(Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images)

Iowa GOP Sen. Joni Ernst, the only female in Senate Republican leadership, is comparing party efforts to remove Rep. Liz Cheney from House leadership to "cancel culture."

"I feel it's OK to go ahead and express what you feel is right to express," she said Monday, according to The Hill newspaper. "Cancel culture is cancel culture no matter how you look at it. Unfortunately, I think there are those that are trying to silence others in the party."

Ernst spoke two days before House Republicans are almost certain to vote in favor of removing Cheney, of Wyoming, as GOP Conference chairwoman, amid her ongoing, public disagreement with former President Trump over his claims about widespread 2020 election fraud.

House Republicans have essentially argued Cheney is not expressing the position of leadership and the conference and that the feud has become a distraction.

Ernst said she has been a Trump supporter and doesn't agree with Cheney. However, she argues the GOP should be more focused on winning upcoming elections and regaining control of Congress, rather than going after one of its own.

"What we can do is come together and try to win seats in 2022," she said. "I think that's what all of us should be focused on."

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy sent a letter to his caucus Monday telling members to expect to vote Wednesday on whether to keep Cheney in the No. 3 House leadership post. He has also backed New York GOP Rep. Elise Stefanik as her replacement. 

Cheney after voting to impeach Trump after the Jan. 6 Capitol riot survived a House vote to remove her from leadership.