Liz Cheney embraces the fall, offering herself as a cautionary tale
Update: Liz Cheney deleted from the post office.
WASHINGTON – In the hours leading up to a vote that will almost certainly purge her of the House Republican leadership, Representative Liz Cheney from Wyoming remained unrepentant on Tuesday, calling her expulsion a turning for his party and declaring in an extraordinary speech that she would not sit still as Republicans abandon the rule of law.
On Tuesday evening, Ms Cheney took a final fiery stance, warning that former President Donald J. Trump had created a threat the nation had never seen before: a president who had “caused a violent attack” on his own Capitol. “With the aim of stealing the elections,” then continued to spread his electoral lies.
“Staying silent and ignoring the lie emboldens the liar,” Ms. Cheney said. “I will not participate in this. I am not going to sit idly by and watch in silence as others lead our party down a path that abandons the rule of law and joins the former president’s crusade to undermine our democracy.
His provocative exit – and his unequivocal blow against Republican House leaders who are trying to oust him – illustrate Ms. Cheney’s determination to continue his outspokenness Mr. Trump’s conviction and his party’s role in disseminating the false electoral declarations that inspired the January 6 attack on Capitol Hill. On the precipice of the impeachment vote on Wednesday, she embraced her downfall rather than fighting it, presenting herself as an uplifting tale in what she describes as a battle for the soul of the Republican Party.
Highlighting this framing, Ms Cheney wore a replica of George Washington’s battle flag on Tuesday night as she spoke on the House floor.
“I think Liz understands that it’s not worth selling your soul for the No.3 in the minority,” said Barbara Comstock, a former Republican MP from Virginia and friend of Ms. Cheney. “She just isn’t going to do that.”
Ms Cheney’s latest unrepentant stance – and the icy reception she received from House Republicans, who left the chamber as she began her remarks – also underscored how Republican leaders, even in their rush to rebuild their party after the riot and storm Mr. Trump left the White House, have attached themselves to his election lies as a matter of survival.
In replacement, the leaders united behind the Representative Élise Stefanik from New York, a former moderate whose loyalty to Mr. Trump and support for her fake stolen election narrative has earned her the broad grassroots support of the party that Ms. Cheney, as a longtime conservative, does not command. more. It’s a remarkable arc for the Wyoming Republican, the daughter of a conservative dynasty who was once talked about as a future orator and who is now on the verge of being relegated to the political wilderness.
Ms. Cheney’s the allies say she sees the ousting as part of an existential battle and intends to maintain her criticisms even of exile on the base. The short-term political consequences will almost certainly work against her, both in Washington and at home.
Ms Cheney is under attack in Wyoming, where Tories who have sought to exploit her antagonism with Mr Trump hope to topple her in a primary. And any presidential aspirations she may have nurtured seem certain to be delayed – if not wiped out – given her decision to take on a character the Republican base worships.
The drama that unfolded Tuesday before the vote underscored the iron grip Mr Trump still has over the party, as far-right Republicans began to publicly assert Ms Stefanik was not conservative enough. nor sufficiently favorable to the former president to lead the conference.
In a note circulated by Representative Chip Roy of Texas who was reported by PoliticoMr Roy tore Ms Stefanik apart and accused Republican leaders who defended her of “rushing to crown a spokesperson whose voting record epitomizes much of what led” to the beating of Republicans at the time. of the 2018 midterm elections.
He also denounced Ms. Cheney for “unnecessarily engaging in personal attacks and finger pointing at President Trump rather than advancing the conference.” Mr Roy’s letter reflected the determination of the Conservatives – who led the unsuccessful first effort to oust Ms Cheney in February – to exercise their will on the party’s message.
Even Ms. Cheney’s outspoken allies earlier this year seemed ready to abandon her. Representative Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin, another hawk in the defense, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that he was planning to vote to oust Ms. Cheney from management. In supporting Ms Cheney in February, Mr Gallagher warned that “we must be a party under the big tent or doom ourselves to insignificance”.
House Republicans voted on May 12 to oust Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming from their ranks for her refusal to remain silent on the lies of the election of President Donald J. Trump.
- Backlash to Impeachment vote: In January, Ms. Cheney issued a scathing statement announcing that she would vote to impeach Mr. Trump. In the statement, who drove a crack through his party, she said there has “never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States” than Mr. Trump’s incitement to a mob that attacked the Capitol on January 6. She was one of 10 Republicans. who voted to dismiss him. A group of Mr. Trump’s most vocal allies in the House called on her to step down from her leadership position.
- Leadership challenge: In February, Ms. Cheney rose to the challenge of stripping her of her leadership position in a secret ballot vote. Even though the majority of Republicans in the House opposed Mr. Trump’s impeachment, most were unwilling to punish any of their key leaders for doing so – at least not on condition of anonymity .
- Censor: Ms. Cheney also faced opposition from the Wyoming Republican Party, which censored her and demanded her resignation. Mrs. Cheney rejected these appeals and urged Republicans to be “the party of truth”.
- New challenge: Ms. Cheney continued her blunt Mr. Trump’s conviction and his party’s role in disseminating the false election declarations that inspired the January 6 attack, prompting a further push to oust him from his leadership role. This time, the effort was supported by Representative Kevin McCarthy, the leader of the minority.
- Deletion: Ms Cheney called her deportation turning for his party and said in an extraordinary speech that she would not sit still as Republicans abandon the rule of law. It kissed her fall and offered itself as an edifying tale in what she describes as a battle for the soul of the Republican Party. The impeachment took place by voice vote during a brief but noisy closed-door meeting in a Capitol Hill auditorium.
- Impact and analysis: What started as a battle for the future of the party after the violent end of the Trump presidency has collapsed into a one-sided stacking of the Trump team against critics like Ms. Cheney, a descendant of a legendary Republican family. The episode, a remarkable withdrawal which reflected the party’s intolerance for dissent and unwavering loyalty to the former president, drew attention to the party’s internal divisions between more traditional and conservative factions over how to reclaim the House in 2022.
- Successor: On May 14, House Republicans elected the representative Élise Stefanik of New York, a strong supporter of Mr. Trump, as the No. 3 leader. Ms. Stefanik pledged to maintain a focus on “unity” as conference chair, but she also drew criticism from some far-right Republicans who questioned his conservative good faith.
But on Tuesday, Mr Gallagher said in a statement: “The House Democrats led by President Pelosi have been ruthless in promoting their radical progressive agenda, and Representative Cheney can no longer unify the House Republican conference against This program.”
Instead, Ms. Cheney found an unlikely set of allies rallying to her side: the Democratic leaders.
“Liz Cheney spoke the truth in power, and for that, she is fired,” said Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, majority leader.
Rep. Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, the second House Democrat, intervened to say he found it “sad” to see Republican leaders pledge allegiance to “such a dysfunctional leader as Donald Trump.”
Similar praise from Democrats infuriated Republicans in January, after Ms. Cheney issued a lengthy ruthless statement announcing that she would vote to impeach Mr. Trump. Democrats quoted it liberally on the House floor, to the dismay and embarrassment of Republicans, some of whom felt the Wyoming Republican was demagoguery to further his political ambitions.
Critics of Ms. Cheney accused her of continuing to do so.
“I think she made a calculated decision that she would rather be a martyr than try to organize her own conference,” Newt Gingrich, a former Republican House speaker, told Maria Bartiromo de Fox News. “As an individual member, she has every right to say and do whatever she wants. But she does not have the right, as conference chairperson, to take the power and prestige that the conference has given her and use it to undermine the conference.
Ms Cheney, however, has repeatedly warned that trying to avoid talking about the riot and Mr Trump’s campaign misrepresentation would not only further alienate potential Republican voters, but also cause “profound long-term damage. ” in the country. A former State Department official, she cited the parallels between what happened on January 6 and her work in authoritarian countries as a reason why she was so determined to publicly condemn the attempted insurgency.
“History is watching. Our kids are watching, ”Ms. Cheney wrote in a scathing Washington Post opinion piece Last week. “We must be courageous enough to stand up for the basic principles that underpin and protect our freedom and our democratic process. I pledge to do so, regardless of the short-term political consequences. “