Awkward moment as House Republican leaders clash over Trump speaking at CPAC

Liz Cheney contradicted Kevin McCarthy on whether Trump has a role with the GOP.

February 24, 2021, 3:07 PM

Former President Donald Trump and his future with the GOP was the subject of an awkward clash Wednesday between two House Republican leaders.

House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy was unequivocal when asked if Trump should be speaking this Sunday at CPAC, the Conservative Political Action Conference -- the large gathering of GOP and conservative leaders.

"Yes he should," McCarthy, who recently went to visit Trump in Mar-a-Lago, replied.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy during a press conference at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., Feb. 24, 2021.

House GOP Conference Chair Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., the third-ranking House Republican, who voted to impeach Trump and became his target, gave a different answer.

"That's up to CPAC ... I don't believe that he should be playing a role in the future of the party or the country," Cheney said as she stood behind McCarthy.

Rep. Liz Cheney, the House Republican Conference chair, joined from left by Rep. Jason Smith, top Republican on the House Budget Committee, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Feb. 24, 2021.
J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Rep. Steve Scalise, the second-ranking House Republican, who also has visited Trump in Florida, shook his head.

McCarthy, who was at the microphone, had a pained look on his face when Cheney made her comment.

"On that high note, thank you!" McCarthy said to end the news conference.

McCarthy is slated to speak Saturday at the CPAC convention in Orlando, Florida.

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