Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX), a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, will challenge Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) for the Republican conference chair position, only days after he suggested Stefanik’s voting record was too liberal for the position and encouraged his colleagues to consider leaving the post vacant if they couldn’t find someone with conservative values.
Roy, a two-term congressman and former chief of staff to Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), and Stefanik, the New York congresswoman endorsed by former President Donald Trump, both spoke to Republican members during a candidate’s forum on Thursday evening.
According to ABC News, the 48-year-old Roy said that Republicans shouldn’t be rushing to select a GOP conference chair, the vote for which will be held Friday morning. “But if we’re going to have the vote tomorrow, I’m running,” said Roy.
Rep. @chiproytx says Republicans should “not rush this process” to select a new conference chair.
“But if we’re going to have the vote tomorrow, I’m running.”
— Ben Siegel (@bensiegel) May 13, 2021
Roy’s decision comes only days after he circulated a memo warning his colleagues against selecting Stefanik for the conference chair position on the basis of her record. He also floated the idea of leaving the post vacant.
“Consider your response if I asked if you would — setting aside any friendship or personal feelings about him or her — support a colleague with the following record to be our spokesperson,” Roy wrote, who then listed off portions of Stefanik’s record, including:
Opposition to the Trump tax cuts of 2017
Support for an amendment overriding Trump’s transgender troops policy
Voting for the Equality Act the first time it was introduced (voting against in 2021)
Voting to ban drilling in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico
Voting for the “Delivering for America Act — playing into Democratic Party conspiracy theory that President Trump was trying to destroy the post office”
Voting to override Trump’s border wall funding through SJ Res 54
Co-sponsoring “permanent status for Dreamers without any actual badly needed border security to stem the tide of the crisis” in the 115th Congress
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who supported the move to oust Cheney, has welcomed Roy’s decision to run for GOP conference chair, reportedly telling reporters late Thursday that he believes “competition is great.”
Former President Donald Trump endorsed Stefanik for the post early on — before Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) had been formally ousted — and criticized Roy in a statement merely minutes after The New York Times reported that Roy would run for GOP leadership.
“Can’t imagine Republican House Members would go with Chip Roy—he has not done a great job, and will probably be successfully primaried in his own district. I support Elise, by far, over Chip,” said Trump.
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