Cline mum on Cheney vote, but drops strong clue

I phoned Congressman Ben Cline’s office Wednesday morning to find out how he voted on removing Liz Cheney from the House Republican leadership for daring to tell the truth about Donald Trump and the Big Lie about “stolen” 2020 election. (Cheney was ousted by an unrecorded voice vote of the House GOP caucus.)

I was told that Cline has chosen not to release that information, but the staffer who answered the phone took my name and said she would let the Congressman know of my interest.

Aside from cowardice, I have no idea why Cline wouldn’t want to tell his constituents how he voted. But I urge others to call his office (202-225-5431) and make the same request.

However I believe it’s possible to ascertain how he voted from the following quote in The Hill:

With Wednesday’s vote, Republicans are now “very unified,” Rep. Ben Cline (R-Va.) told The Hill. “We have a diverse conference with diverse views; we celebrate that. And we look to our leadership for our messaging, and we don’t want to distract from that message.”

That is to say, he almost certainly voted with the majority to dump Cheney. And while he claims that Republicans celebrate “diverse views,” the vote to oust Cheney tells precisely the opposite story.

So while Cline has joined in the usual Republican complaints about “cancel culture,” he apparently decided Cheney had to be canceled for refusing to keep quiet about Trump’s danger to democracy. (As Republican Senator Joni Ernst said about the ouster, “cancel culture is cancel culture no matter how you look at it.”)

Interestingly Cline expressed rather garbled doubts about replacing Cheney with Congresswoman Elise Stefanik, as Trump advocated. Before she became a sycophantic Trump loyalist, Stefanik actually voted against Trump on a number of issues, including immigration, the border wall, tariffs and taxes.

“The lack of any challenger [to Stefanik] doesn’t remove any questions I have about her voting record and whether her positions are going to interfere with our ability to look to message for the conference,” Cline said.

Cline’s hesitation to support Stefanik is especially remarkable because in 2019 he emailed his supporters asking them to donate to her election campaign. If they knew about it, I wonder what those supporters would be thinking now.

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