How that will shake out for Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Minority Whip Steve Scalise and GOP Conference Chairwoman Liz Cheney is not completely certain. But according to interviews with over a dozen Republican lawmakers and aides, there’s a growing sense that if Trump loses the White House — and the GOP fails to make meaningful gains in the House — the fight for the future of the party will play out in challenges across leadership.
“If Trump loses, there’s gonna be a mad scramble if we’re in the minority,” said one Republican lawmaker, who was granted anonymity to speak more freely. “There’s people seeing this as an opportunity. … I think it’s gonna be a real fight.”…
Cheney’s public critiques of Trump and strong support of Dr. Anthony Fauci have been interpreted by some of Cheney’s colleagues as an attempt to build a distinct brand within the GOP and position herself in case Trump — and McCarthy or Scalise — falters, though no one thinks she’s rooting for that scenario.
By contrast, McCarthy and Scalise have both closely tied themselves to Trump; the president even fondly refers to the minority leader as “my Kevin.” A broad GOP defeat could lead to calls for new leadership as the party searches for answers — and a scapegoat.