Rep. Liz Cheney scored a fist bump from President Joe Biden as he entered the House chamber for his first joint address to Congress.
It’s a move that will likely turn heads, especially among Republicans who might view the greeting as cozying up to a president they fault for muscling his agenda through Congress without bipartisan support. Cheney (R-Wyo.) has also found herself on shaky footing in recent days, as her relationship with House Minority Leader has grown increasingly frosty.
After voting to impeach former President Donald Trump earlier this year, Cheney and her relationship with McCarthy have been symbolic of a growing rift in the GOP at large over what role Trump should play in the party going forward.
During a House GOP retreat over the weekend, the rift between the two lawmakers publicly escalated.
“There’s a responsibility, if you’re gonna be in leadership, leaders eat last,” McCarthy told POLITICO at the time. “And when leaders try to go out, and not work as one team, it creates difficulties.”
Cheney, the No. 3 House Republican, told the New York Post on Monday that she believed those who supported Trump’s efforts to overturn the election results should be disqualified from the 2024 GOP presidential nomination.
At a Tuesday press conference, McCarthy dodged a question about whether Cheney was still a good fit for his leadership team.
The two have maintained that they are on good working teams, and McCarthy defended Cheney against lawmakers in the Trump wing of the party who tried to oust her from leadership over her impeachment vote. However, McCarthy has notably been absent from GOP leadership’s weekly press conferences with Cheney after an awkward clash over Trump’s role in the party.
Cheney, though, seems to have the support of at least one prominent GOP lawmaker, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. The two exchanged a lengthy handshake with and shared words at the address. McConnell himself has frequently found himself at odds with the former president, who has taken shots at both lawmakers in statements since leaving office.
Despite any friendly optics, Cheney distanced herself from Biden after the address, issuing a statement that said Biden’s policies were “bad for Wyoming and bad for America.”
“I will fight back against these dangerous plans and always stand up for the interests of our state and for the constitutional values that we hold dear,” she said.