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Week In Politics: Liz Cheney May Be Ousted Over Trump Criticism

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Representative Liz Cheney's days in the Republican House leadership may be numbered. She could face a vote this coming week because she refused to give voice to or go along with the fallacy that former President Donald Trump won the 2020 elections. NPR senior editor and correspondent Ron Elving joins us. Ron, thanks so much for being with us.

RON ELVING, BYLINE: Good to be with you, Scott.

SIMON: How do we explain that a prominent conservative may be about to get the boot because she just tells the truth about an utterly verifiable fact?

ELVING: Not sure that can be explained, at least not easily, but that's the way things are right now in the House Republican Conference. Either you embrace what's being called the big lie, or you keep quiet about it. And Liz Cheney has refused to do either one. Let's remember that as chair of the House Republican Conference, No. 3 in the party hierarchy, her job is largely to be a message person. And this is not the message the rest of the House Republican leaders want to hear or the guy at Mar-a-Lago, for that matter. So look. They gave her a pass for voting for impeachment a few months ago. There was a vote to remove her in the House Republican caucus. They did it on a secret ballot, and she beat that move 146-to-61. But that was then - seems she may have been on double-secret probation since then. The leadership is tired of taking questions about her, and they've got the votes to remove her this time.

SIMON: Ever seen anything like this?

ELVING: It's hard to think of an analogy in recent history, at least. We have seen people pushed out of leadership in both parties. That's not that unusual. But this isn't a typical scandal over money or misstatements or sex or some other kind of behavior. This is the leadership ejecting the only woman member of the leadership because she refuses to parrot a line that is a lie, and she uses that word and refuses to be politic about it. And there just isn't much alternative to Trump loyalty right now in the Republican Party. The leaders know there isn't a national passion for Mitch McConnell or Kevin McCarthy, especially not among the voters who still really like Trump.

SIMON: At the same time, Democrats can't get all of their members to vote for key items in President Biden's agenda. What's the lineup on that side?

ELVING: Internal party struggles are the order of the day. On the Democratic side, it's the familiar figure of West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, who keeps talking about all the parts of the Biden menu he can't swallow, including the procedural moves that might make it all possible, like limiting the filibuster or just killing it. Now, Manchin's state is one of the state's most loyal to Trump. We all know that. And, of course, Manchin knows that.

SIMON: The items in President Biden's agenda, of course, include money in the infrastructure bill for jobs. And the president says the need for that is underscored even more after yesterday's very disappointing jobs numbers.

ELVING: That's right. Instead of a million new jobs in April, as the economists promised us, we apparently only got about a quarter of that. And, of course, no one wants to say they like a weaker jobs number. But the stock market still went up because they see it as easing inflation pressure. And Biden got to say it was more evidence we need more trillion-dollar spending programs.

SIMON: This week, Facebook's oversight board announced that it won't make policy for that behemoth of a social media platform when it comes to decide whether or not they will let president - former President Trump back on it. What does this mean for Donald Trump in Mar-a-Lago?

ELVING: He says that he's going to have his own social media platform - don't really see him as the next Mark Zuckerberg. But for now, he wants to get something to put in place of Facebook. It's a big stage where he's been able to raise money and sell his view of the world - not the only stage but certainly the biggest. So all week, we've been hearing about this new social media platform. And so far, what's there looks more like a blog - not quite Facebook or Twitter, at least not yet.

SIMON: NPR's senior editor and correspondent Ron Elving, thanks so much.

ELVING: Thank you, Scott. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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