GOP Conference Chair Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) offered a dry remark Tuesday when asked if Donald Trump would make an appearance at House Republicans’ policy retreat in Florida next week: “I haven’t invited him.”
The quip elicited laughter from reporters and highlighted the ongoing tensions between the former president and the highest-ranking GOP woman in Congress, who was one of 10 Republicans who voted to impeach Trump for his role in the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection.
Last week, Trump said he would “soon” endorse a pro-Trump primary challenger to “Crazy Liz Cheney.” Cheney, the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, responded in kind by saying she would not back Trump if he decided to run again for president in 2024.
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 it doesn’t appear that Trump will be addressing Republicans as he did at past GOP retreats in Philadelphia, Baltimore, and at West Virginia’s Greenbriar resort.
Next week’s retreat is sponsored by the nonprofit Congressional Institute, which formally extends invitations to all speakers. But a spokesperson for the institute said in an email Tuesday: “We haven’t invited [Trump], and no one from Republican leadership has asked us to invite him.”
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.”
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.”