Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), who serves as vice conference chair among Senate Republicans, has now spoken out in defense of Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) in the final lead-up to Cheney’s expected removal from House GOP leadership this week. Cheney has faced strong criticism from fellow Republicans over her refusal to go along with the lie that the 2020 presidential election had somehow been rigged for Biden. She’s not some kind of covert liberal operative — her voting record in the House is consistently conservative. Yet, Republicans have turned against her over her pushback to Trump’s election lies.
Cheney appears to be set up to get replaced by Trump ally Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) as House GOP conference chair. Ernst compared the moves against Cheney to “cancel culture.” Discussing Cheney, Ernst said as follows:
‘I feel it’s OK to go ahead and express what you feel is right to express and, you know, 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… I still think we shouldn’t be trying to cancel voices… What we can do is come together and try to win seats in 2022. I think that’s what all of us should be focused on.’
Ernst also noted that she and Cheney have different approaches to Trump — Ernst has backed Trump through two rounds of impeachment proceedings, while Cheney supported impeaching Trump earlier this year — but this difference did not change the Senator’s perspective.
ERNST on Cheney: “I support President Trump and his policies so I have a slightly different view on that but I still think we shouldn't be trying to cancel voices, but what we can do is come together and try and win seats and 2022.”
— Frank Thorp V (@frankthorp) May 10, 2021
Republicans across the party have recently rhetorically taken up so-called “cancel culture” as a top opponent. The (dubious at best) idea is that Republicans have been getting “cancelled” for merely expressing their viewpoints, which obviously isn’t reflective of reality in cases like Donald Trump’s ban from Twitter. In truth, certain conservatives have faced consequences for their documented virulent rhetoric, and these consequences aren’t somehow emblematic of a secret conspiracy to silence conservatives in general (who definitely aren’t even systematically silenced at all, to be clear). The “cancel culture” concept, though, definitely seems applicable to the Republican Party’s moves against Cheney.