Although Liz Cheney’s career in Congress came to an end as a result of her tenacious pursuit of Donald Trump over the incident at the US Capitol last year, the defecting Republican insists that her work is “far from over” as she breaks ranks with her party in the fight for US democracy.
The 56-year-old congressman became the first Cheney to suffer political defeat in deeply-conservative Wyoming as she ceded her right to defend her US House seat in November’s midterms to Harriet Hageman, a Trump-endorsed election conspiracy theorist.
Cheney said in a speech after losing the primary election, “I want to say, first of all, a particular thanks to every member of Team Cheney who is here in the audience, and to tell you our work is far from over.”
Liz Cheney, daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, was once seen as the tax-cutting, gun-loving, God-fearing, small-government apotheosis of American conservatism, but she has since become a pariah inside her own party.
Since she refused to believe President Trump’s fabrications about a stolen 2020 election, she has found herself at odds with the party’s most progressive members, who have cast their lot with the Democrats and effectively disowned her back in the “Cowboy State.”
Ten Republicans, including Cheney, voted to impeach the former president on January 6, 2021, for encouraging the revolt.
Yet Cheney hasn’t ruled out the prospect of a shot at the president in 2024, either by taking on Trump in the campaign for the Republican nomination or by running as an independent.
I haven’t settled on a course of action there yet. Obviously, I’m giving a lot of thought to getting reelected. The January 6th committee is currently my main priority. During an interview with ABC News, she remarked, “I’m very focused on my commitments to accomplish the job that I have today.”
She sounded like she had her sights set on a broader stage than just Wyoming in her concession address delivered outside the town of Jackson.
Since January 6, she has declared, “I will do everything it takes to ensure Donald Trump is never again anywhere near the Oval Office,” and she means it.
While Joe Biden won the election, Trump still has a firm grasp on the Republican Party, which in February included in its official policy platform the untruth that the chaos in the Capitol represented “legitimate political conversation.”
“They think January 6 won’t be much of a voting issue in 2022. Perhaps, conservative US political commentator Bill Kristol tweeted before Tuesday’s primary.
To take it seriously or not is still a defining decision for us as a nation, but make no mistake: it was a defining event for the country. Liz Cheney takes it seriously. Each of us ought to.”
Only one other Republican, Adam Kinzinger, supported Cheney’s revolt – but the young Illinois congressman has chosen to retire rather than fight for reelection.
Both have been labeled “RINOs” (Republicans in name only) by more moderate colleagues because of their political affiliation.
Other Republican lawmakers have tried to tread carefully between criticizing Trump’s role in the attempt to destabilize the 2020 election (including the assault of the Capitol) and maintaining in his good graces.
The opposite of Cheney.
The president of the United States “summoned this mob, organized the crowd, and fanned the spark of this attack,” she claimed, explaining why Trump was to blame for the uprising. She used the same scathing assessment she had during Trump’s second impeachment hearing.
Wyoming political royalty
Cheney, the elder of Dick Cheney’s two daughters, comes from a family that is the equivalent of political aristocracy in firmly conservative Wyoming.
Her now-81-year-old father held the House seat she is in. He served there from 1979 until 1989.
Dick Cheney served as vice president under George W. Bush for eight years after leaving Congress to become defense secretary under George H.W. Bush.
When she finished law school at the University of Chicago, Liz Cheney went to work for the International Finance Corporation and later held several positions in the State Department.
In 2014, she ran unsuccessfully for a Senate position in Wyoming before being elected to the House of Representatives in 2016.
During both her 2018 and 2020 reelection campaigns, she handily defeated her Democratic opponents by more than 40 percentage points.
It was the first loss for a Cheney in Wyoming, and it went to a woman who called herself a “proud rodeo mom” of five kids.
By saying that Cheney “had a significant part in the phony January 6 committee created to divert people from the horrible record of President Biden,” attorney and failed gubernatorial candidate Hageman had gained an unassailable lead.