The pro-Trump Republican gunning for Cheney’s leadership job

Banks, a veteran of the Afghanistan conflict who has aligned himself intently with Trump, has raised his personal profile since taking the reins of the conservative caucus earlier this yr. And the media-savvy 41-year-old is making clear that he views his RSC’s communications store as superior to the convention’s formal, Cheney-led hub. Banks described it as “filling a void.”

“We’re within the minority, and this can be a messaging battle as a lot as a coverage battle,” Banks informed POLITICO in an interview. “RSC is offering that framework higher than anybody else on Capitol Hill.”

However changing the highest-ranking girl in GOP leadership with Banks, or another white male, might be a serious optics drawback for a celebration that has made recruiting extra ladies and minorities a key a part of its technique for successful again the Home subsequent yr. Banks additionally insists he’s centered on the RSC chairmanship and would relatively see Cheney turn into a group participant than get the boot. Nonetheless, Banks’ try and bigfoot Cheney is barely fueling hypothesis that he’s a prime candidate to exchange her — whether or not it’s this month or within the subsequent session of Congress.

“If there’s a task to play, the place I can proceed to do what I’m doing as RSC chairman, I need to do it,” Banks mentioned, when requested whether or not he’d run for leadership. “The most pure comparability to RSC chair is convention chair … And that’s one thing I believe I might actually take pleasure in, as a result of it’s what I’m doing now.”

Cheney, as soon as a fast-rising star within the GOP praised for her sharp tongue and conservative credentials, turned convention chair as solely a sophomore Wyoming lawmaker. The 54-year-old mom of 5 was unanimously reelected to that publish in November.

And regardless that Cheney publicly cut up from most of her occasion when she voted to question Trump, her allies argue that she has continued to reach her leadership position by offering the convention with necessary messaging instruments. Beneath Cheney’s leadership, the GOP convention has despatched out messaging emails each morning that Congress has been in session, along with a weekly e-mail with shareable social media content material centered on hitting the Biden agenda, based on sources who’ve seen the communications.

However Cheney’s critics, who unsuccessfully tried to oust her from leadership in February, are rising ever extra annoyed by her readiness to name out Trump and his baseless claims concerning the 202 election. Days after drawing consideration on the retreat, Cheney fist-bumped President Joe Biden earlier than his joint handle to Congress, additional enraging the far proper. Even senior Republicans who had her again earlier this yr, resembling Home Minority Chief Kevin McCarthy, have soured on her.

One senior Republican lamented that some donors will not contribute to the Home GOP so long as Cheney continues to be serving in leadership. “It is a legal responsibility for us,” mentioned the GOP lawmaker.

However even along with her leadership job on the road, Cheney has not backed down. “The 2020 presidential election was not stolen,” she tweeted Monday. “Anybody who claims it was is spreading THE BIG LIE, turning their again on the rule of regulation, and poisoning our democratic system.”

The query of who can — or would — change Cheney is a conundrum that vexed her critics final time round. In addition to Banks, two different Republicans thought of critical contenders for the position are Rep. Elise Stefanik (N.Y.), who received over the MAGA crowd defending Trump throughout his first impeachment, and Rep. Mike Johnson (La.), a former RSC chairman who now serves as vice convention chair. Different names floated to exchange Cheney embody Reps. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) and Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.).

The entire potential candidates voted to problem certification of Biden’s victory in some states.

Banks, nonetheless, has earned excessive marks from McCarthy, and a few Republicans suppose the GOP chief has been grooming Banks for the publish. The two have grown extraordinarily shut as they’ve criss-crossed the nation fundraising collectively, together with in Banks’ hometown. And McCarthy, who stopped displaying as much as weekly press conferences with Cheney after they awkwardly clashed over Trump on Feb. 25, appeared with Banks on a panel on the Conservative Political Motion Convention.

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