Two RINOs conspicuously absent from annual GOP retreat has tongues wagging

House Republicans convened their annual retreat this week at the Sawgrass Marriott Golf Resort & Spa in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, and there was one member of the party conspicuously absent.

U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., did not attend the three-day retreat “to home in on policy proposals that members have been considering as they work to regain the majority in November,” the Washington Times reported.

The convention kicked off on Wednesday, with Cheney still in Wyoming — the Times noted that she was participating in a panel at the Center Theater on Tuesday night and remained in her home state on Wednesday, adding that Republican staffers said she neither responded to an RSVP nor showed up Thursday. She is instead scheduled to speak at Chatham University in Pittsburgh, Penn.

“I guess you can say she’s a Republican in name only,” U.S. Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind., said, this being a play on the term “RINO.”

Cheney, who is virulently anti-Trump, is vice-chair of Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s politically motivated Jan. 6 select committee. She was hand-picked by the Democratic speaker, as was U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., who also hates Donald Trump with a passion, to give the panel a bipartisan label. The lawmakers are sometimes referred to as “Pelosi Republicans.”

“Ms. Cheney’s absence at the retreat is the latest sign of her estrangement from the party after she became a fervent detractor of former President Donald Trump, who remains the party’s leader for most Republicans,” the Times reported. “She was ousted from the House Republican leadership team and was censured and disavowed as a Republican by the Wyoming Republican Party. She faces a tough reelection fight this year and has scores of House Republican colleagues financing her primary opponent.”

On that note, Kinzinger has already announced that he will not be running for reelection in November.

Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy confirmed in an interview with the Daily Caller that Cheney and Kinzinger would not be attending the annual retreat and explained why they have not been kicked out of the Republican conference.

“Your conference doesn’t determine whether you’re a Republican or Democrat. You get to determine that,” he said. “And the way to go about it is exactly what I’m doing. I support Harriet in Wyoming. You’re going to find there’s going to be an event for Harriet next week. No one knows this. There’s more than 100 members that are co-sponsoring that.”

“Part of the reason why Liz isn’t doing her work for Wyoming. She’s not on natural resources. She gave that up,” McCarthy continued. “That’s the number one committee for Wyoming, you know, and the voters get to decide whether you get to come to Congress. We get to decide whether you’re going to be in leadership or not. Liz Cheney was not doing the role as conference chair. That’s why she was removed. She doesn’t come to conference. Adam’s not running again.”

Cheney does not attend many Republican Party functions in Washington or Wyoming, where the state voted to no longer recognize her as a member of the party. The Republican National Committee also voted to formally censure Cheney and Kinzinger for their participation with the Jan. 6 select committee.

Seems her absence was not much of a shock to many, with the real question perhaps being when does Cheney finally end the suspense and change her party affiliation.

Here’s a quick sampling of responses to the story from Twitter:

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