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Stefanik on role of GOP conference chair: 'My focus is on unity'

Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call/Getty Images

Newly elected Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik told reporters after her victory that former President Donald Trump is the leader of the Republican Party but his outspoken critics like Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger still have a place in the party.

“I believe that voters determine the leader of the Republican Party, and President Trump is the leader that they look to. I support President Trump, voters support President Trump. He is an important voice in our Republican Party, and we look forward to working with him,” Stefanik said.

But she added, “Liz Cheney is a part of this conference. Adam Kinzinger is a part of this conference. They were elected and sent here by the people in their district. They’re part of this Republican conference. We are unified in working with President Trump. My job representing our Republican members, the vast majority who look forward to working with President Trump.”

Stefanik stated her belief that the Republican Party is a “big tent party,” even though Cheney was ousted for criticizing Trump, and Trump suggested that Chip Roy should be primaried just for running in the conference chair race.

Stefanik said she has not spoken to Cheney this week. 

Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Whip Steve Scalise and Conference Vice Chair Mike Johnson all congratulated Stefanik. 

“I want to congratulate Elise Stefanik, and welcome her to the leadership team. I want to thank Chip Roy, as well. We had a healthy debate and a good election. We’ve got a lot of work to do in this leadership team. We’v got a lot of work to do in this conference. The policies of Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden are destroying this nation,” McCarthy said. 

“I also want to congratulate our new conference chair, Elise Stefanik. Congratulations, you’re going to do a great job. Our conference is incredibly unified right now, but we’re also very concerned because America is experiencing numerous crises,” Scalise added. 

Johnson, who previously had not publicly supported Stefanik said, “we are unified.”

“There is a great feeling coming out of that auditorium today, and we are ready to face this challenge to present this vision to get our message to the American people and to take back the house in 2022.”

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