“I have heard from members, concerned about her ability to carry out the job as conference chair, to carry out the message,” McCarthy told Fox News on Tuesday morning. “We all need to be working as one, if we’re able to win the majority. Remember, majorities are not given, they are earned, and that’s about the message about going forward.”
McCarthy added that the question going forward is “what’s our best step forward that we could all work together instead of attacking one another.”
But Cheney is showing no signs of backing down amid her growing feud with McCarthy.
“This is about whether the Republican Party is going to perpetuate lies about the 2020 election and attempt to whitewash what happened on Jan 6,” Jeremy Adler, Cheney spokesperson, said in a statement. “Liz will not do that. That is the issue.”
Cheney has no intention of stepping aside as House Republican conference chair, two people familiar with the matter tell CNN. This means that if she’s ousted, it will have to be done through a conference vote.
A vote to oust Cheney from her leadership job seems all but certain and could happen as soon as May 12, according to several senior Republican members and aides. Ultimately, it’s McCarthy’s call on whether the vote would happen that quickly. But a senior House Republican member predicted to CNN that it’s only a matter of time before she’s ousted from the leadership post.
“Liz is gone. Just a question of how and when,” the GOP member said based on taking the temperature of the conference, but insisted on anonymity to discuss the sensitive issue candidly.
Cheney was not given a heads up before McCarthy spoke on Fox News on Tuesday — and the two haven’t spoken since the morning interview, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Cheney’s future as Republican leadership is looking increasingly grim, with chatter now growing in GOP circles about her replacement in leadership as she’s become alienated in her conference amid her feud with Trump.
It’s still not known which candidates might emerge — and who would actually win because it’d be a secret ballot election and no candidates have yet announced they would run. Cheney would first have to step aside, or McCarthy could hold a quick vote to force her out, though he hasn’t said if he will do that yet.
But with Cheney, the highest-ranking woman in GOP leadership, Republicans are keenly aware how it would appear to replace her with a man. So speculation is growing that a woman might be the best fit for the conference, aides and lawmakers tell CNN.
Some Republican women who might be in the running include Jackie Walorski of Indiana, Elise Stefanik of New York, Maria Elvira Salazar of Florida and Ashley Hinson of Iowa.
Reps. Mike Johnson of Louisiana and Jim Banks of Indiana are also said to be potential candidates.
This story has been updated with additional developments Tuesday.
CNN’s Jamie Gangel contributed to this report.