Republican Conference Chair Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., Speaks during a press conference following a House Republican meeting in Washington on Tuesday, April 20, 2021.
Caroline Brehman | CQ Appeal, Inc. | Getty Images
The GOP must “turn away from the dangerous and anti-democratic Trump personality cult,” argued Rep. Liz Cheney, the No. 3 Republican in the house, on Wednesday.
“The Republican Party is at a turning point and Republicans have to choose whether to vote for truth and allegiance to the Constitution,” Cheney wrote in the Washington Post.
The Cheney clear-up call came as a flurry of House Republicans, including Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Minority Whip Steve Scalise, saying they are done with serving as Chair of the House Republican Conference.
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But in the statement, Wyoming’s Cheney appeared to be addressing concerns about her status in the party.
“History is watching. Our children are watching. We must be brave enough to defend the fundamental principles that underpin and protect our freedom and our democratic process. I am determined to do so regardless of the short-term political consequences.” Cheney wrote.
Cheney was the only member of the Republican leadership to vote for the impeachment of former President Donald Trump following the January 6th invasion of the Capitol by a crowd of his supporters. Trump “called this mob, gathered the mob and lit the flame of this attack,” Cheney said at the time.
Trump was acquitted in the Senate for instigating a riot.
Since Trump left office, Cheney has set himself apart from many of her Republican counterparts in her willingness to continue speaking out against Trump, who continues to falsely insist on beating President Joe Biden and spreading unsubstantiated conspiracy theories about widespread electoral fraud.
On Tuesday, McCarthy reportedly said of Cheney, “I’ve had it with her. You know, I’ve lost confidence.” A Scalise spokeswoman said the whip had pledged its support to Rep. Elise Stefanik, RN.Y., who emerged as a passionate defender of Trump during his first impeachment.
Trump and other Republicans also supported Stefanik.
Cheney’s comment claimed that it was not enough to simply look away from Trump’s unsubstantiated election claims.
“Trump is trying to unravel critical elements of our constitutional structure that make democracy work – confidence in the outcome of elections and the rule of law. No other American president has ever done this,” Cheney said.
“While accepting or ignoring Trump’s statements may seem attractive to some for fundraising and political causes, this approach will cause profound damage to our party and our country in the long term,” she wrote.
She noted that after the attack on the Capitol, McCarthy said Trump “was responsible” for the attack and “should have denounced the mob as soon as he saw what was going on”.
McCarthy has now “changed his story,” said Cheney.
Cheney rejected Trump’s persistent claims about a “rigged” election that cast doubt on US institutions. “This is immensely harmful as we are now on the world stage against communist China and its claims that democracy is a failed system,” she wrote.
Republicans, Cheney said, should support the Justice Department’s ongoing investigation into the Jan. 6 invasion. More than 400 people are now charged with the attack.
The GOP should also support a “parallel bipartisan review” of the invasion “by a summoning commission to seek and find facts,” she said.
After all, Republicans must “stand up for truly conservative principles and turn away from the dangerous and anti-democratic Trump personality cult,” Cheney said.
Citing the memory of former President Ronald Reagan, a Republican icon, she said he had “formed a broad coalition from across the political spectrum to bring America back to its senses, and we must do the same now”.
“But that will not happen if Republicans choose to abandon the rule of law and join Trump’s crusade to undermine the foundation of our democracy and reverse the legal outcome of the last election,” she said.
Read the full comment The Washington Post.