WASHINGTON — Representative Kevin McCarthy, the minority leader, on Sunday officially endorsed Representative Elise Stefanik in her bid to oust the No. 3 House Republican, Representative Liz Cheney, who has hemorrhaged support over her repudiation of former President Donald J. Trump’s lies about election fraud.
“Yes, I do,” Mr. McCarthy told the Fox News host Maria Bartiromo when she asked whether he supported Ms. Stefanik’s push to become the Republican conference chairwoman.
“We need to be united, and that starts with leadership,” Mr. McCarthy said. “That’s why we will have a vote next week.”
The endorsement from Mr. McCarthy — who had been working behind the scenes on Ms. Stefanik’s behalf for days — came after Mr. Trump and Representative Steve Scalise of Louisiana, the No. 2 House Republican, endorsed Ms. Stefanik.
willingness to embrace his false claims of election fraud have become the ultimate litmus tests among Republicans for holding a leadership position in the House. Ms. Cheney, who represents Wyoming and was once considered a future speaker, has a more conservative voting record than Ms. Stefanik. But Ms. Stefanik, a fourth-term congresswoman from New York, has joined in Mr. Trump’s efforts to cast doubt on the legitimacy of President Biden’s victory in the 2020 election.
Representative Jim Banks of Indiana, the chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee, made the case against Ms. Cheney on “Fox News Sunday.”
“Right now it’s clear that she doesn’t represent the views of the majority of our conference,” Mr. Banks, who has co-sponsored legislation with Ms. Cheney opposing troop reductions in Afghanistan, told the show’s host, Chris Wallace.
Mr. Banks — who like Mr. McCarthy and Mr. Scalise joined in objections to certifying Mr. Biden’s victory — added that his split from Ms. Cheney came after she criticized a memo he had written outlining a strategy for winning working-class voters.