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'We are in a battle for the soul of the party': Matt Gaetz leads anti-Liz Cheney rally in Wyoming and demands Kevin McCarthy remove fellow GOP Rep. from leadership after she voted for Trump impeachment

 Matt Gaetz has declared war for the 'soul' of the Republican party, as he traveled to Liz Cheney's home state of Wyoming to drum up support for her ouster, after she joined nine of her Republican colleagues in voting to impeach Donald Trump.

Gaetz, the Florida congressman who is one of Trump's staunchest allies, told Fox News' Tucker Carlson after his trip that Cheney, the 54-year-old daughter of former vice president Dick Cheney, should be forced out of the House leadership.

Currently she is the third most senior Republican in the House, and chairs the Republican Conference.

She is up for re-election in 2022, and is already facing the prospect of a challenge in a primary.

Gaetz on Thursday seized the mantle of forcing Cheney out, telling supporters in Wyoming: 'We are in a battle for the soul of the Republican party, and I intend to win it.'

Matt Gaetz addressed an anti-Liz Cheney rally in her home state of Wyoming on Thursday

Matt Gaetz addressed an anti-Liz Cheney rally in her home state of Wyoming on Thursday

Gaetz traveled to the state to support her ouster from party leadership for voting to impeach

Gaetz traveled to the state to support her ouster from party leadership for voting to impeach

Cheney, whose father Dick was George W. Bush's vice president, is being punished for her vote

Cheney, whose father Dick was George W. Bush's vice president, is being punished for her vote

Trump won 70 per cent of Wyoming the vote in November: the state is a longtime Republican stronghold, and voted Democratic just once since 1952 – the 1964 landslide victory of Lyndon Johnson over Barry Goldwater.

'You can help me break a corrupt system,' Gaetz said.


'You can send a representative who actually represents you, and you can send Liz Cheney home - back home to Washington, DC.'

Gaetz told the rally in Cheyenne, the state capitol, that Wyoming - with the smallest population of all states - will send a message to the country about the lasting support for Trump and his populist policies.

Wyoming, he said, 'will bring Washington to its knees.'

He continued: 'Washington, DC, mythologizes the establishment powerbrokers like Liz Cheney for climbing in a deeply corrupt game. But there are more of us than there are of them.'

Matt Gaetz claims some protestors at the capitol were Antifa
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Deeply Republican Wyoming, which Trump won with 70pc of the vote, is seething at Cheney

Deeply Republican Wyoming, which Trump won with 70pc of the vote, is seething at Cheney

Protesters angered by Cheney's January 13 vote called for her, not Trump, to be impeached

Protesters angered by Cheney's January 13 vote called for her, not Trump, to be impeached

Gaetz's trip to Cheyenne would have delighted Donald Trump and his supporters

Gaetz's trip to Cheyenne would have delighted Donald Trump and his supporters

Cheney's fate at home and in Washington will be one indicator of whether GOP traditionalists or Trump-aligned activists determine the direction of the party.

Her troubles have already served as a warning for Republicans in the Senate, most of whom signaled Tuesday they would vote to acquit Trump on the charge of inciting an insurrection.

Meanwhile, Trump's political action committee, Save America, is using a poll it commissioned on Cheney's popularity with Wyoming voters to taunt her — and show other Republicans what may lie ahead when they don't support Trump.

Gaetz later told Fox News that she should be forced from her role, to rid the party leadership of 'America Last neo cons' who were 'owned by foreign interests abroad, special interests at home.'

He said: 'Kevin McCarthy needs to hold a vote on Liz Cheney, and if he doesn't, the Republican conference is a total joke.

'More than half of the Republican conference has said that this person does not speak for us.

'Now, you and I both know the Republicans basically have no power in Washington D.C. right now. The only power we have is to communicate and if the person we've designated to communicate for us as the conference chair doesn't have the support of the majority of the conference, it is a total fiction you've created regarding the entire structure of leadership.'

Gaetz on Thursday night said Cheney was 'America Last' and needed to lose her party position

Gaetz on Thursday night said Cheney was 'America Last' and needed to lose her party position

Cheney's defenders cast the blowback from her vote as ginned up by attention-seekers.

'Wyoming doesn't like it when outsiders come into our state and try to tell us what to do,' said Amy Edmonds, a former Cheney staffer and past state legislator.

But there's little doubt the lawmaker in her third term is facing homegrown opposition in a state where the establishment's once-firm grip has been slipping.

Republican state Sen. Anthony Bouchard, a gun rights activist, announced his primary challenge against Cheney one week after her impeachment vote, making a clear effort to rally Trump fans.

'The swamp was after me,' Bouchard said of his recent reelection to the statehouse despite being badly outspent.

'I just don't think that works any more in Wyoming. I think the people have figured it out.'

Whether pro-Trump Republicans can unite behind a single Cheney opponent remains a big question.

Calling in to the Gaetz rally, Donald Trump Jr., the former president's son, made clear that Bouchard wasn't on his shortlist.

'Let's be careful who it is. Let's not just back the first person who comes along,' said Trump Jr. as Bouchard stood on the Wyoming Capitol steps in full view but without taking part.

Another possible candidate is Cheyenne attorney and investor Darin Smith, who lost to Cheney in the 2016 Republican primary. 

Saying he's weighing his options, Smith accused Cheney after the rally of chasing a 'family vendetta' against former President Trump.

'She gave the state of Wyoming the middle finger,' Smith said. 

'And we're going to hold her accountable for that. End of story.'

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