The House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy endorsed Harriet Hageman on Thursday, the Trump-backed candidate challenging Rep. Liz Cheney at the Wyoming Republican primary. This is a very unusual move.
McCarthy, R.Calif. said, "I am proud of supporting Harriet Hageman in Congress," in a statement tweet by Hageman. "I look forward welcoming Harriet into a Republican majority next Congress."
Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), House Republican Conference Chairwoman, also endorsed Hageman Friday, calling her "a true America First Patriot who has what it takes for Wyoming families to restore true representation."
Congress party leaders rarely, if ever get involved in primaries. This is especially true if a member of their side is running for re-election.
The first report by The Federalist confirming former President Donald Trump’s growing influence over the GOP is McCarthy's public endorsement. Trump is determined to defeat the few congressional Republicans that voted last year to impeach and convict him. Cheney is his primary target.
In a Friday statement, the former president celebrated McCarthy's and Stefanik’s endorsement of his preferred candidate.
"Congratulations Kevin McCarthy and Elise Stefanik for their powerful endorsement of Harriet Hageman in Wyoming. Trump stated that Liz Cheney, the loser, is a RINO who has been a warmonger and doesn't merit to be in the House of Representatives.
After the Jan. 6th riot, McCarthy and Cheney were openly critical of one another. Cheney was fired from her No. After voting for impeachment, Cheney was removed from her No. 3 position in the House GOP leadership. She has spoken out about the need for Trump to be held accountable for the attack on Capitol.
Cheney is one the two Republicans who are part of the House committee that is investigating the attack on Capitol Hill. The other Republican member of the panel is Rep. Adam Kinzinger from Illinois. He is not running for re-election.
Recent sanctions were imposed by the Republican National Committee on Cheney and Kinzinger over their participation in Jan. 6's panel.
Last week, NBC News asked McCarthy if he supported the RNC's decision to censure the two legislators. McCarthy replied: "I think there is a reason why Adam's not running again. There's a reason Liz wouldn't be able to win here if she ran.
McCarthy was praised by Hageman on Thursday. He said on Twitter that McCarthy was proud to be endorsed and that he looked forward to working with him to make the Biden Administration accountable for their actions.
A spokesperson for Cheney stated that Hageman was "wow." She must be really desperate."
The most recent fundraising figures show that Cheney raised more than $1.97million in the three months to 2021. This brings her annual total to almost $6.5 million. Hageman, who started her bid in September and received $443,000 in contributions in the last quarter. This brings her total for 2021 to nearly $745,000.