Ms. Cheney tried to dismiss the topic but could not help tossing a barb back at Mr. Gaetz, telling him she looked forward to seeing his HBO documentary — a reference to a documentary featuring Mr. Gaetz, Mr. Massie and other members of Congress focused on the influence of corporate money on American political institutions.
Mr. Massie was not satisfied and pressed Ms. Cheney himself.
Ms. Cheney said his had been a “special case” rather than some change in policy, and tried to turn the subject to what she said should be Republicans’ main objective: beating Democrats. But Mr. Massie warned colleagues they could be next, saying that their chairwoman believed the rank and file served her, not the other way around.
The attacks piled on from there.
Representative Chip Roy of Texas, who is battling to hold his seat between San Antonio and Austin, took issue with Ms. Cheney’s vocal support of Dr. Fauci. He noted that his Democratic opponent, Wendy Davis, had shared a tweet that Ms. Cheney sent calling Dr. Fauci “one of the finest public servants we have ever had.”
Republicans were also annoyed that Ms. Cheney had tweeted a picture of her father donning a blue medical mask with the caption “Dick Cheney says WEAR A MASK” — an apparent dig at Mr. Trump’s refusal at the time to wear a mask in public. As if her shot at Mr. Trump was not clear enough, she appended the hashtag “#realmenwearmasks.”
Ms. Cheney told Mr. Roy that the country’s top focus should be defeating the virus, not attacking doctors and scientists who have the best interests of the country in mind.
Representative Andy Biggs of Arizona, the chairman of the Freedom Caucus, stood up and went further, accusing Ms. Cheney of undermining Republicans’ chances of winning back control of the House. If you don’t have anything nice to say about Mr. Trump, he urged, don’t say anything at all.
Mr. Jordan thanked Ms. Cheney for her defense of Mr. Trump during the House impeachment proceedings, but then unloaded about her defense of Dr. Fauci, her broadsides against Mr. Trump’s policy on Afghanistan and Germany, and her skepticism about the administration’s response to intelligence about a possible Russian bounty scheme.