‘Donald Trump didn’t need to sleep five hours a night’: McCarthy says that Biden doesn’t have the ‘energy’ of the former president

Kevin McCarthy Joe Biden White House
President Joe Biden speaks during a meeting with congressional leaders in the Oval Office, which included (clockwise from left) House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, Vice President Kamala Harris, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York.

  • Kevin McCarthy said that President Biden doesn’t have the “energy” of former President Trump.
  • “Donald Trump didn’t need to sleep five hours a night,” McCarthy told Sean Hannity.
  • McCarthy sat for an interview with Steve Scalise and new House GOP Conference Chair Elise Stefanik.
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GOP House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California said on Friday that President Joe Biden doesn’t possess the “energy” of former President Donald Trump, after a recent meeting at the White House.

McCarthy, who is seeking to regain control of the House in next year’s midterm elections, met with Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris on Wednesday, alongside GOP Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California, and Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York.

While being interviewed on Fox News by host Sean Hannity, McCarthy gave his assessment of the meeting after Hannity asked if Biden was “engaged” and had a “high level” of energy.

“He was with it and he was engaging and he was giving me numbers and talking,” he said. “But at no time, having known Joe Biden for quite some time, does he have the energy of Donald Trump. We both know it.”

He added: “Donald Trump didn’t need to sleep five hours a night. If you called Donald Trump, he would get on the phone before staff would.”

Read more: How Marjorie Taylor Green became the Voldemort of Congress. Few lawmakers even want to say her name.

House Minority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana and newly-installed House Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik of New York were also part of the interview.

Stefanik, a 36-year-old New York lawmaker and Trump loyalist, replaced Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the conservative scion of a prominent Republican family, after Cheney’s refusal to validate the former president’s debunked claims about the 2020 presidential election.

McCarthy, who criticized Cheney for not articulating a united message against the Democratic Party, backed Stefanik’s ascencion to leadership, along with Trump.

The three GOP members largely attacked Biden’s policies during the interview.

“I am excited about Elise Stefanik joining the leadership team because Joe Biden is not just ignoring the problems, he’s igniting them,” McCarthy said.

Biden, who is seeking to pass a $2 trillion infrastructure bill, has hit a huge roadblock with the GOP leaders, who are seeking a smaller package and object to raising the corporate tax rate to fund the legislation.

The president has sought to raise the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28%, but said he is open to negotiating the final number.

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Rep. Liz Cheney, who was just ousted from House GOP leadership, says she now regrets voting for Trump in 2020

liz cheney
Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyoming) heads to the House floor to vote at the US Capitol on February 3, 2021.

  • Liz Cheney told ABC News she now regrets her vote for Trump in the 2020 presidential election.
  • “It was a vote based on policy … in terms of the kinds of policies he put forward,” she said.
  • Cheney criticized House Republicans for ousting her to promote Rep. Elise Stefanik to leadership.
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GOP Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, who was ousted as the House Republican Conference Chair after continuing to challenge former President Donald Trump’s false election claims, said in an ABC interview set to air on Sunday that she now regrets voting for the former president in 2020.

Cheney, a staunch conservative and the scion of a GOP political dynasty, was removed from her party’s leadership on Thursday and replaced with Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York, a 36-year-old lawmaker who had the backing of Trump.

“I was never going to support [President] Joe Biden and I do regret the vote,” Cheney told ABC News correspondent Jonathan Karl. “It was a vote based on policy, based on substance and in terms of the kinds of policies he put forward that were good for the country. But I think it’s fair to say that I regret the vote.”

Cheney criticized House Republicans for promoting Stefanik to leadership, emphasizing that it was “dangerous” to elevate an individual who has continued to legitimize Trump’s debunked election allegations.

“What does it say about the party choosing somebody to replace you, who was effectively chosen by Donald Trump and saying what he’s been saying … those very lies you were talking about?” she asked.

She added: “I think it’s dangerous. I think that we have to recognize how quickly things can unravel. We have to recognize what it means for the nation to have a former president who has not conceded and who continues to suggest that our electoral system cannot function, cannot do the will of the people.”

Read more: How Marjorie Taylor Green became the Voldemort of Congress. Few lawmakers even want to say her name.

Cheney, who saw the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection as an affront to the rule of law, believed that Trump had abdicated his commitment to the secure and peaceful transfer of power and was threatening American democracy.

“We just had a violent mob assault the US Capitol in an attempt to prevent those from carrying out our Constitutional duty,” she said in a statement that day. “There is no question that the President formed the mob, the President incited the mob, the President addressed the mob. He lit the flame.”

After voting to impeach Trump in January for his role in the riot, a February vote was held on the fate of Cheney’s status in leadership. She prevailed in the vote.

However, in the months following her impeachment vote, Cheney continued to reject Trump’s claims of a stolen election, angering pro-Trump conservatives like House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California and House Minority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana who felt like she wasn’t staying on message for the party.

Cheney said in the interview that it was critical for Republicans who rejected Trump’s false election claims to affirm the legitimacy of the 2020 election.

“Frankly, it’s the same kinds of things that the Chinese Communist Party says about democracy: that it’s a failed system, and America is a failed nation,” Cheney said of Trump’s claims. “I won’t be part of that. And I think it’s very important for Republicans who won’t be part of that to stand up and speak out.”

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Rep. Elise Stefanik takes over as No. 3 House Republican after Liz Cheney’s ouster

elise stefanik leadership vote
Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-NY.

  • Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York is now the third-highest ranking member of House GOP leadership.
  • Stefanik was elected to conference chair Friday following Rep. Liz Cheney’s ouster.
  • The New York congresswoman won by a vote of 134 to 46.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

House Republicans on Friday elected Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York to the third-highest position in the conference.

Stefanik won the vote for conference chair by a 134 to 46 vote, according to reports from Capitol Hill.

She takes over following Wednesday’s ouster of Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming.

A staunch Trump ally, Stefanik campaigned for the position as Cheney’s standing among Republican colleagues waned after she repeatedly called out former President Donald Trump for his role in the Capitol riot and refused to echo his lies about the 2020 election being illegitimate.

In remarks after the vote tally came in, Stefanik compared her win to the upset victory of American revolutionaries over the British Empire at the Battle of Saratoga in 1777.

“At my home in Upstate New York, my husband and I live just a few miles from the Saratoga National Battlefield where 244 years ago, the founding of the Great American Experiment was in grave danger, hanging on by a thread as the prospects looked grim for those early patriots seeking to found a new country based on the ideals of liberty, freedom, and a limited government of the people, for the people, and by the people,” Stefanik said, according to Punchbowl News.

“Great Britain looked to finish off the war once and for all,” she continued. “But the American patriots were disciplined and steadfast in carrying out their mission.”

Stefanik said that the GOP’s goal is “winning back the majority in 2022 to save our country from the radical Democrat Socialist agenda under Speaker Pelosi and President Biden.”

Trump backed Stefanik after she doubled down on his election lies, and she has never said President Joe Biden legitimately won the 2020 election. She has only gone as far as to refer to him as president in the present tense.

The tensions around Cheney’s post began to build after the January 6 Capitol insurrection.

Cheney then voted to impeach Trump, and has been consistent in warning of the former president’s continued lies and potential to incite further violence.

Trump allies then began rallying around a 2022 primary challenge to bounce her out of Congress.

Amid all of the pressure from within her own party, Cheney has continued to sound the alarm around some members whitewashing the insurrection and has been supportive of an investigation into the riot.

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Liz Cheney’s likely replacement, Elise Stefanik, isn’t nearly as conservative, but she tells ‘MAGA tales about the election with gusto,’ expert says

Elise Stefanik RNC
U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) addresses the virtual Republican National Convention on August 26, 2020.

  • Donald Trump endorsed New York Rep. Elise Stefanik to replace Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney as as House conference chair.
  • Cheney’s voting record is more conservative, and more Trumpy, than Stefanik’s.
  • But Stefanik promotes Trump’s election claims, while Cheney’s opposition frustrates the GOP, one expert said.
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Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming was ousted from her role as the number three Republican in the House of Representatives this week after refusing to pull back on her criticism of former President Donald Trump.

In a voice vote Wednesday, GOP representatives voted to strip her of her role as chair of the House Republican Conference. Rep. Elise Stefanik has been pegged to take her place.

The New York congresswoman has the support of Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and former President Trump himself, despite the fact that her voting record isn’t nearly as conservative – or as Trumpy – as Cheney’s. The key thing she does have going for her: loyalty to Trump and his claims about the 2020 election.

Read more: Anti-Trump Republicans spook GOP with the threat of a spinoff 3rd party

“The litmus test for leadership at this moment is being on message with Trump and his most fervid supporters regarding the election results,” Kevin Kosar, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and co-editor of the book “Congress Overwhelmed,” told Insider. “And Rep. Stefanik has been telling MAGA tales about the election with gusto.”

According to data compiled by FiveThirtyEight, Cheney voted in line with Trump’s position 93% of the time, while Stefanik only voted in line with Trump 78% of the time.

Stefanik’s votes countered the president on issues that included the National Defense Authorization Act, US Postal Service funding, disaster aid to Puerto Rico, and Environmental Protection Agency chemical regulations.

Cheney voted with Trump much more frequently, mostly departing on election issues as well as the National Defense Authorization Act and withdrawing troops from Syria, among others.

Stefanik, who was once considered a moderate in the House, even spoke out against Trump’s rhetoric and policy positions in 2015 and 2016, criticizing his comments on women and Muslims, among other issues, CNN reported.

But she emerged as a staunch Trump supporter in 2019, defending him during his first impeachment. Trump branded her a “new Republican star” at the time. She went on to enthusiastically promote his unsubstantiated and false claims about the 2020 presidential election, Insider’s Eliza Relman previously reported.

She was one of the 147 GOP lawmakers who voted to overturn the results of the election, repeating false claims about widespread fraud. She backed a Texas bid to overturn the results in four battleground states won by Biden, a case dismissed by the Supreme Court.

Trump endorsed Stefanik to replace Cheney, who has consistently pushed back against the former president’s election claims. Cheney was one of just 10 Republicans to vote to impeach Trump, and has criticized her own party for embracing Trump’s efforts to undermine the legitimacy of the election.

Following her vote in favor of impeachment, she survived a February vote over whether she should lose her position, with McCarthy defending her at the time. But Kosar said her refusal to back down on her defense of the election has created problems for others in her party, including McCarthy and the number two House Republican, Rep. Steve Scalise.

“She refuses to humor former President Trump and has publicly spoken loudly and clearly since February on this issue, which creates headaches for McCarthy and Scalise, who have to deal with Trump, the GOP base, and media inquiries about Cheney,” he said.

Despite Cheney’s record being more conservative and more in line with Trump’s, Kosar said GOP leadership want the election issue to go away so they can focus on 2022, but the Wyoming congresswoman is intent on not letting her party get away with that.

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Gov. Hogan rips GOP for devotion to Trump: It bothers me that you have to swear fealty to ‘Dear Leader’ or you get kicked out the party

larry hogan
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan talks to reporters during a news briefing about the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic in front of the Maryland State House April 17, 2020 in Annapolis, Maryland.

  • Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan criticized the GOP leadership for its devotion to Trump.
  • Hogan, a Republican, said members of his party who don’t love Trump get “kicked out.”
  • “It’s sort of a circular firing squad where we’re just attacking our own party,” he said.
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Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan criticized Sunday members of his own party as they work to strip Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney of her leadership position in the House of Representatives.

“Can you explain why the party doesn’t seem to hold Donald Trump responsible?” asked Chuck Todd, the moderator of NBC News’ “Meet the Press.”

Cheney, the No. 3 House Republican, has for months faced scrutiny by members of her party for her vote to impeach President Donald Trump for his incitement of the January 6 riot at the US Capitol.

Read more: Trump isn’t endorsing a candidate in the Virginia GOP governor race. His absence has made an already chaotic campaign even more bonkers.

GOP leadership is inching closer toward a potential vote this week that would oust Cheney as the chair of the House GOP Conference and replace her New York Rep. Elise Stefanik, who has been publicly loyal to Trump since he left office.

“I’ve had it with … I’ve had it with her. You know, I’ve lost confidence. … Well, someone just has to bring a motion, but I assume that will probably take place,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said, reportedly a hot mic during a recent Fox News interview, according to Axios.

Despite the backlash from GOP membership, Cheney has refused to acquiesce to the members of her party who falsely claim the election was stolen from Trump.

“We must decide whether we are going to choose truth and fidelity to the Constitution or join Trump’s crusade to delegitimize and undo the legal outcome of the 2020 election, with all the consequences that might have,” she said in a May 3 tweet.

Hogan said Sunday that Republicans who continue to unequivocally throw their support behind the ex-president are afraid of him.

“I think they’re concerned about retaliation from the president,” Hogan said Sunday. “They’re concerned about being attacked within the party. And it just bothers me that you have to swear fealty to the ‘Dear Leader’ or you get kicked out of the party. It just doesn’t make any sense.”

Todd noted that Cheney had supported Trump while in office, particularly his 2017 tax reform bill that Stefanik voted against. According to data from FiveThirtyEight, Cheney voted with Trump’s agenda nearly 93% of the time vs Stefanik, who supported it about 78% of the time.

“Well, it’s sort of a circular firing squad where we’re attacking members of our own party,” Hogan said.

He said members of the GOP were more interested in infighting than “focusing on problems” or “standing up and having an argument” with Democrats over Biden’s agenda.

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Trump advisor Jason Miller says defeating Liz Cheney is ‘one of the highest priorities’

President Joe Biden (C) greets Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) with a fist bump before addressing a joint session of congress in the House chamber of the US Capitol April 28, 2021 in Washington, DC.
President Joe Biden (C) greets Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) with a fist bump before addressing a joint session of congress in the House chamber of the US Capitol April 28, 2021.

  • Trump advisor Jason Miller pointed out Liz Cheney as a top political target of the former president.
  • Cheney faces the loss of her leadership role in the House and a tough GOP primary challenge in 2022.
  • The No. 3 House Republican refuses to waver from her criticism of Trump’s continued election lies.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A top advisor for former President Donald Trump said unseating House Republican Conference Chair Liz Cheney of Wyoming in her 2022 GOP primary election was a top priority of the former president, according to the Washington Post.

Trump senior advisor Jason Miller told the Post in a recent interview that the former president’s political advisors have already begun to call contacts in Wyoming to field potential Republican primary challengers to Cheney.

Miller said defeating Cheney was “one of the highest priorities as far as primary endorsements go.”

The Post also reported that Trump met with advisors in Florida earlier this week to review 2022 endorsements; the former president pledged to support one GOP challenger to avoid splitting the “anti-Cheney” vote in a divided field.

Cheney has increasingly found herself on the outs within her caucus as she continues to criticize Trump for refusing to acknowledge the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election that he lost to President Joe Biden.

After the November election, Trump spent months attempting to overturn the election results in a number of key states, including Arizona, Georgia, and Pennsylvania. His campaign team lost nearly every major court battle.

Cheney has chastised Trump for his role in the January 6 Capitol riot, accusing him of feeding the insurrectionists with lies about the election results.

The conservative congresswoman, who’s the No. 3 Republican in the House, was one of only 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump for “incitement of insurrection” in his second impeachment trial.

Read more: The House’s history-making top security official talked with Insider about his plan to reopen the Capitol and ensure it will ‘never, ever be breached again’ after the January 6 attack

Cheney received the backing of her caucus to keep her leadership role in a February vote, but she will almost certainly face a vote to remove her as conference chair next week.

GOP Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York, who tried to overturn the election results earlier this year, is a leading candidate to succeed Cheney.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California and House Minority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana, both strong Trump allies, have abandoned support for Cheney’s continued tenure in leadership.

Trump on Wednesday lashed out at Cheney from his newly launched blog.

“Warmonger Liz Cheney, who has virtually no support left in the Great State of Wyoming, continues to unknowingly and foolishly say that there was no Election Fraud in the 2020 Presidential Election when in fact, the evidence, including no Legislative approvals as demanded by the US Constitution, shows the exact opposite,” he wrote.

The Post on Wednesday published an op-ed written by Cheney, where she argued that it was imperative for the GOP to adhere to the rule of law and lashed out at the former president.

“The Republican Party is at a turning point, and Republicans must decide whether we are going to choose truth and fidelity to the Constitution,” she wrote. “We Republicans need to stand for genuinely conservative principles, and steer away from the dangerous and anti-democratic Trump cult of personality.”

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Rep. Elise Stefanik backs the controversial GOP-sanctioned recount of 2020 election ballots in Arizona

Elise Stefanik
In this Nov. 20, 2019 file photo, Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., listens during a House Intelligence Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington.

  • Rep. Elise Stefanik publicly supports a controversial GOP-backed election recount in Arizona.
  • Stefanik told Steve Bannon that the widely-criticized audit is necessary for transparency.
  • Stefanik is a leading candidate to replace House GOP Conference Chair Rep. Liz Cheney.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Rep. Elise Stefanik, who is vying for a top position in House leadership, publicly backed the unofficial and highly controversial GOP-sanctioned recount of ballots in Maricopa County, Arizona in an interview on Steve Bannon’s podcast.

The GOP-controlled Arizona state Senate has hired Cyber Ninjas, a private Florida firm, to conduct a hand recount of paper ballots cast in the 2020 election, an exercise that further legitimizes top Republican’s false claims of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election.

“I fully support the audit in Arizona. We want transparency and answers for the American people. What are the Democrats so afraid of? The voters in Arizona and the state Senate in Arizona pursued this audit, I fully support it. Transparency is a good thing. We need to fix these election security issues in the future,” she told Bannon.

Read more: Trump is MIA in the Virginia GOP’s governor race because he doesn’t want to back a potential loser. His absence is making a chaotic nomination campaign even more bonkers.

Arizona Republicans and Cyber Ninjas are calling the procedure an audit, but election experts and even some Republican election officials, like Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman, say the exercise isn’t following even the most basic procedures to properly audit ballots and keep them secure.

In a scathing letter to Ken Bennett, the state Senate’s audit liason, Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs said that “the hand counting process being used is a significant departure from standard best practices utilized by jurisdictions and experts across the county, including here in Arizona, and raise serious doubt about the accuracy and reliability of any result of this process.”

She raised a number of security issues with the audit’s processes, and wrote that “a number of items detailed in the Counting Floor Procedures appear better suited for chasing conspiracy theories than as a part of a professional audit.”

Tammy Patrick, a former Maricopa County election official and senior advisor at the Democracy Fund, addressed Stefanik’s exact argument in a press briefing with reporters hosted by the National Task Force on Election Crises on Tuesday, noting that Maricopa County already audited the ballots in question.

“That is the common refrain, right, like, ‘well, you must be hiding something, otherwise, we should do this.’ The real issue, though, is that a hand-count audit was already done of these ballots, and has been done, since, I think the first time we did it was 2007, 8, or 9,” she said.

“I personally have overseen the hand counting of tens if not hundreds of thousands of ballots, if not millions of ballots, over the years. So it’s not a question of being afraid of an audit, there were officially sanctioned audits already conducted by the political parties in Arizona,” Patrick added.

Stefanik is a leading contender to replace Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming as the House Republican Conference Chair, the third-highest ranking House Republican after Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Minority Whip Steve Scalise.

Cheney has found herself on the outs after she voted to impeach former President Donald Trump over the January 6 insurrection, publicly condemned his lies about the 2020 election, and not-so-quietly feuded with members of her caucus.

Stefanik has publicly endorsed false allegations of fraud in the 2020 election, including pushing baseless claims that signature verification on ballot envelopes in Georgia was “gutted” and that there were 140,000 illegal votes cast, which was debunked by Georgia’s Republican election officials.

Stefanik also voted to reject Pennsylvania’s slate of electors for President Joe Biden during the joint session of Congress on January 6.

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Defense Department pauses plan to offer COVID-19 vaccine to Guantanamo Bay prisoners after GOP criticism

guantanamo bay
In this Wednesday, April 17, 2019 photo reviewed by U.S. military officials, the control tower is seen through the razor wire inside the Camp VI detention facility in Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, Cuba.

  • The Department of Defense is pausing a plan to offer COVID-19 vaccines to Guantanamo Bay prisoners.
  • The plan drew criticism from GOP lawmakers who said it prioritized terrorists.
  • Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said the department is reviewing measures to keep troops safe.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The Department of Defense is pausing a plan to offer COVID-19 vaccines to detainees at Guantanamo Bay.

John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary, made the announcement in a tweet Saturday, saying that no detainees at the prison have been vaccinated.

“We’re pausing the plan to move forward, as we review force protection protocols,” he said. “We remain committed to our obligations to keep our troops safe.”

The plan to offer vaccines to prisoners at Guantanamo was reported by The New York Times on Thursday.

Republican lawmakers criticized the announcement, saying that the plan was prioritizing terrorists over average Americans.

Read more: Vaccine inequity on Capitol Hill: Members of Congress got the shots but essential Hill workers are left waiting

Guantanamo Bay currently has 40 prisoners, according to the Times. One of them is Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, who has been accused of being the principal architect of the 9/11 attacks.

“President Biden told us he would have a plan to defeat the virus on day 1. He just never told us that it would be to give the vaccine to terrorists before most Americans,” Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the GOP leader in the House, said in a tweet Saturday morning.

McCarthy also tweeted the news that the plan would be paused, saying “Good.”

Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York also criticized the plan in a tweet, calling it “inexcusable” and “un-American.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines encourage vaccinating correctional staff and incarcerated people at the same time to avoid outbreaks. The CDC also highlights the increased risk of becoming ill in a prison facility due to being inside in close quarters.

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