McCarthy was interviewed a day after Trump mounted a fresh offensive on his assertions

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy stepped up the pressure on No. 3 House Republican Liz Cheney on Tuesday, claiming rank-and-file concerns about “her ability to carry out her job” as she trades insults with former President Donald Trump.

McCarthy’s comments on the Fox News Channel underscored the continued, if not growing, grip that the former president has on the House GOP.

Rather than standing by Cheney — as he did during a failed effort to oust her in February — McCarthy essentially planted himself in the camp of her critics. His positioning with her detractors and their increasingly outspoken attacks suggest her hold on her leadership job is in renewed peril.

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“I have heard from members concerned about her ability to carry out her job as conference chair, to carry out the message,” said McCarthy, R-Calif. “We all need to be working as one if we’re able to win the majority. Remember, majorities are not given. They are earned.”

McCarthy’s remarks come with Republicans optimistic about their chances of winning back control of the House in the 2022 elections. The GOP believes it has a trove of issues to use against Democrats and wants the focus there, not on internal party rifts.

But between now and next year’s elections, the GOP must resolve the power struggle between the party’s pro-Trump loyalists and those who believe he has damaged the party and country by repeatedly — and falsely — claiming that last November’s presidential election was stolen from him.

The fight between Cheney and her critics stands as a microcosm of that battle. It also puts the GOP in the awkward position of seeking to oust its highest-ranking woman from her post at a time when the party is trying to erode Democrats’ decisive advantage among female voters.

McCarthy was interviewed a day after Trump mounted a fresh offensive on his assertions. Numerous state and federal courts and local election officials have unearthed no evidence of widespread fraud in the 2020 voting,

A Mexico City subway train overpass collapsed onto a busy road below on Monday night, killing at least 27 people, including children, authorities said. More than 60 people were injured.

Photos and video from the scene showed mangled train cars hanging from the crumbled overpass and rescue personnel searching and transporting the injured on stretchers.

“A support beam gave way,” Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum said at the scene. She said the beam collapsed just as the train passed over it. The accident occurred on Line 12 near the Olivos station in the southeast of the city around 10:30 p.m. (11:30 p.m. ET).

The mayor, wearing a hard hat and face mask, told reporters at the site that 65 people had been taken to hospitals, and seven were in serious condition.

Mexico’s civil protection agency later published an updated list of victims on Tuesday morning, showing that at least 79 people had been taken to area hospitals, including two 15-year-old females and a 17-year-old male.

Image: Rescuers work at a site where an overpass for a metro partially collapsed with train cars on it at Olivos station in Mexico City
Rescuers work at a site where an overpass for a metro partially collapsed with train cars on it at Olivos station in Mexico City late Monday. Luis Cortes / Reuters
Sheinbaum earlier said that one of the victims was in a car under the collapsed overpass and was alive at a hospital. Rescue crews also recovered at least four bodies from the railway carriage, she said.

A crane was being used to hold up the train so rescue workers could continue to work, she said. Of the dead, some are children, Sheinbaum said without specifying a number.

Alfonso, a local resident, told NBC’s sister network Telemundo that he had heard a screeching noise on Monday night. “I even thought that it was a car that had collided around here, but no, I came out and saw the scene,” he said.

As Mexico’s civil protection agency started sharing lists of the injured, friends and relatives of the missing waited for more news of their loved ones, but many feared the worst.

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Gisela del Ocaso, 43, told Telemundo she was looking for her husband, Miguel Angel Espinosa Flores, who was on board the train.

Del Ocaso got to the scene within 30 minutes of the collapse and had heard no news of her husband since. “I don’t know what to do,” she said. “We are desperate. I have two children.”

Calls for an investigation amid safety questions
Sheinbaum called for an investigation into the incident.

“If there’s a need for an external investigation, there will be one,” Sheinbaum, said. “We will get to the truth, and we will get justice.”

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Speaking at his regular news conference, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said that an investigation should be done quickly and nothing hidden from the Mexican people.

The crash has raised questions about safety in one of the world’s busiest metro systems. It spreads across a vast urban sprawl and is home to some 20 million people, transporting about 6 million people daily.

This marks the second serious accident at the Mexico City metro system this year after a fire broke out in the control center on Jan. 9 — killing one person, intoxicating dozens of workers, and knocking out service on several lines for weeks.

At least two additional deadly incidents have been reported in areas around the capital since the metro system’s inauguration 50 years ago. Two trains collided last year at the Tacubaya station, killing one and injuring 41 others. Another train collision in 2015 injured 12 people at the Oceanía station.

Line 12, where the latest crash took place, is one of the newest lines added to the Mexico City metro system. Its construction started in 2006 when Foreign Relations Secretary Marcelo Ebrard was Mexico City’s mayor.

Allegations over design flaws and poor construction of the metro line surfaced shortly after Ebrard stepped down as mayor. The line had to be partially closed in 2013 in order to repair the tracks, Telemundo reported.

“What happened today in the metro is a terrible tragedy. My solidarity with the victims and their families,” Ebrard, who is considered a potential presidential candidate in the 2024 elections, tweeted on Monday.

“Of course we need to investigate cause and determine responsibility. I reiterate to all authorities my complete willingness to contribute to everything necessary,” he wrote.

It’s unclear whether the 7.1 earthquake that rocked Mexico in 2017 also caused damages that contributed to the collapse of Line 12.

Trump critics have labeled his claims “The Big Lie,” and he issued a statement trying to claim that moniker himself.

“The Fraudulent Presidential Election of 2020 will be, from this day forth, known as THE BIG LIE!” he wrote.

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But Cheney, R-Wyo., quickly fired back. She was among 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump for his role in encouraging the Jan. 6 attack by his supporters on the U.S. Capitol, and she used Twitter on Monday to respond to Trump.

“The 2020 presidential election was not stolen. Anyone who claims it was is spreading THE BIG LIE, turning their back on the rule of law, and poisoning our democratic system,” she wrote.

In response to Cheney, Trump issued a fresh statement reiterating his desire to see her defeated by another Republican in next year’s Wyoming GOP primary and claiming that people in her state “never liked her much.”

Underscoring the Republican rift, Cheney criticized Trump anew at a a donor event she attended over the weekend with the conservative American Enterprise Institute at Sea Island, Georgia, according to a person familiar with the situation and granted anonymity to discuss it.

“We can’t embrace the notion the election is stolen. It’s a poison in the bloodstream of our democracy,” Cheney said, in comments first reported by CNN. “We can’t whitewash what happened on Jan. 6 or perpetuate Trump’s big lie. It is a threat to democracy. What he did on Jan. 6 is a line that cannot be crossed.”

In another illustration of internal GOP tensions, Cheney and McCarthy have not appeared together at House Republican leadership news conferences for weeks.

Republicans believe Democrats will be vulnerable over President Joe Biden’s handling of the huge numbers of migrants trying to cross the Southwest border and for not prompting pandemic-shuttered schools and businesses to reopen faster.

In February, conservatives unhappy over Cheney’s confrontations with Trump overwhelmingly lost a secret ballot vote of House Republicans aimed at ousting her from her leadership job, 145-61.

But in recent weeks, Cheney’s continued willingness to speak out against Trump has prompted fresh criticism of her. She is a daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney and like him is viewed as part of the GOP establishment, making her a natural target for the party’s pro-Trump conservatives.

McCarthy has told reporters that during the House GOP’s closed-door February meeting that resulted in Cheney keeping her job, he had defended her.

“People can have differences of opinion. That’s what you can have a discussion about. Liz has a right to vote her conscience,” McCarthy said then.

However, McCarthy struck a completely different tone on Tuesday. He said GOP lawmakers are concerned about the party’s messaging, which is part of the No. 3 leader’s job.

“What’s our best step forward, that we could all work together instead of attacking one another,” McCarthy said.

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