House Republican Conference Chairwoman Liz Cheney (Wyo.) said Tuesday she did not invite former President Trump to address House Republicans at their policy retreat next week in Florida.
Trump, who has been hunkering down at his Mar-a-Lago resort, is just a short flight away from Orlando, where Republicans are holding their annual gathering from April 25 to 27.
But asked by The Hill if Trump would be making an appearance, Cheney, one of 10 Republicans who voted to impeach Trump for his role in the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, volunteered: “I haven’t invited him.”
A Cheney spokesman said her comments were made in jest and that the Wyoming congresswoman doesn’t decide the lineup of speakers.
The retreat is sponsored by the nonprofit Congressional Institute, but Cheney and other members of the GOP leadership team set the agenda. Trump had addressed past House GOP retreats, including in Baltimore and at West Virginia’s Greenbrier resort, when he was serving as president.
But the Republican Party has been at war with itself after the Capitol attack and in the post-Trump era. Cheney and a small faction of Republicans are urging the party to reject Trump and move on, while the majority of GOP lawmakers are embracing the former president, who remains a popular figure with the conservative base and is flirting with a rematch against President Biden in 2024.
Some of Trump’s most dedicated loyalists in Congress, Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.), had been discussing the launch of a pro-Trump “America First Caucus.” A draft policy platform for the caucus, reportedly drafted by staff, called for defending America’s “uniquely Anglo-Saxon political traditions” and infrastructure projects that reflect “European architecture.”
The proposed caucus has been roundly condemned by Republicans across the political spectrum, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and former Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio).
Speaking to reporters Tuesday, Cheney piled on in what were her first on-camera comments about the America First Caucus.
“Any form of nativism or racism or anti-Semitism – those things are evil,” Cheney said in the Capitol. “And that’s got to be very clear, and we’ve got to be willing as Americans to call that out.”
Updated at 1:28 p.m.