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Trump defender Stefanik elected as House Republican Conference chair

Rep. Elise Stefanik speaks to reporters after House Republicans voted for her as their conference chair on Friday.

Washington, U.S. | Xinhua | U.S. House Republicans on Friday morning voted for former President Donald Trump’s staunch defender Elise Stefanik to fill the No. 3 House GOP leadership position of conference chair.

Publicly supported by Trump and top House Republican leaders, Stefanik was elected on a 134-46 vote.

The voting came two days after veteran Republican lawmaker Liz Cheney, a fierce critic of Trump, was ousted from the post.

Stefanik said on Thursday night that she would fight to keep Republicans united as they head into the 2022 midterm elections.

Cheney, the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, was the highest-ranking GOP woman in Congress, and has vowed that she won’t remain silent about the former president’s baseless claims of widespread voter fraud, which she describes as “The Big Lie.”

“We have to get people to vote for us. And we can’t do that if we are a party that’s based on a foundation of lies,” Cheney said on Fox News on Thursday night.

Stefanik backed Trump as the party’s presidential nominee in 2016 but worked to portray herself as an independent voice for her district before 2019, according to a CNN report.

In 2019, she emerged as one of Trump’s most outspoken defenders when the Democrat-led House moved to impeach Trump for the first time, for which Trump praised Stefanik as “a new Republican star.”

After the 2020 presidential election, Stefanik supported an objection during the Electoral College vote count in Congress held to certify Joe Biden’s win. She also signed onto an amicus brief in support of a lawsuit from Texas to the Supreme Court that sought to overturn the results of the election in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and Georgia, said the CNN report.

Earlier this month, Trump said in a statement that Stefanik “is a far superior choice (to replace Cheney), and she has my COMPLETE and TOTAL Endorsement for GOP Conference Chair.”

Stefanik’s replacement of Cheney is widely thought to have underscored Trump’s massive and continuing influence on the increasingly divided Republican Party.

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Xinhua

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