Liz Cheney, a former top Republican who was defeated in a primary for her Wyoming congressional seat last week by a Donald Trump-endorsed challenger, is now threatening to use her political clout against other prominent politicians in her party who have embraced the former president’s attack on democracy.
On Sunday’s episode of ABC World News, she declared that she is closing in on some of the most prominent Republicans. She named Reps. Kevin McCarthy, Ron DeSantis, Ted Cruz, and Josh Hawley, all of whom have publicly backed Trump’s false claim that electoral fraudsters stole the 2020 presidential race from him and handed it to his Democratic opponent Joe Biden.
After her loss in Wyoming, Cheney announced she would be forming a new political organization and was reportedly considering a presidential run in 2024 to prevent Trump from being re-elected.
In light of her Sunday remarks, it seems likely that her intention to confront election deniers extends far beyond Trump.
“I’m going to make it my mission to do everything I can to make sure we don’t… elect election deniers,” she declared. “I’m going to fight ’em, going to back ’em’s enemies,” she said.
Cheney said that Republican US Senators Ted Cruz of Texas and Josh Hawley of Missouri are “unfit for future office” due to their actions. They “both know what the role of Congress is with respect to presidential elections and yet both took steps that fundamentally threatened the constitutional order,” she said.
In the Senate, Cruz played a pivotal role in hatching a plan to prevent Biden’s 2020 victory from being certified in six swing states. Hawley famously raised his clenched fist to protesters outside the US Capitol on 6 January, just before violence erupted, as the first senator to object to Biden’s victory. It was later learned that he had run away from the Capitol during the uprising.
During his interview with ABC News, Cheney was also critical of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and current House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. If the Republicans win control of the House this November, McCarthy would be one of their top picks for Speaker.
While privately telling other party leaders, “I’ve had it with this guy,” McCarthy was initially critical of Trump’s role in unleashing the violent storming of the Capitol. Since then, however, he has come around and is supporting Trump’s anti-democratic movement.
Cheney has stated, “My views on Kevin McCarthy are very clear.” The Constitution can never trust him again. I disagree with his elevation to the position of House Speaker.
And she said that DeSantis was supporting people who don’t believe in the results of the election by supporting him. This should cause “real pause,” Cheney said.
The congresswoman from Wyoming serves as the vice chair of the House committee looking into the attack on the Capitol on January 6. After the attack on the Capitol, she was one of 10 Republicans who voted to impeach Trump; eight of those Republicans will not be returning to Congress in January.
“It says people continue to believe the lie, they continue to believe what [Trump] is saying which is very dangerous,” she said, referring to the fact that those who spoke out against Trump’s attempt to subvert American democracy have been almost universally forced out of the party.
According to her, this “also tells you that large portions of our party, including the leadership of our party both at the state level in Wyoming and at the national level with the RNC [Republican National Committee], is very sick.”
Whether or not Cheney would make a bid for the presidency in 2020 was not something she was willing to say for certain. In that scenario, she also refused to say whether she would run as a Republican or an independent.
After all, she did say that her goal if she ran was to win.
This direct threat from Cheney to Trump and his inner circle of senior Republican Congressmen comes as trouble for the ex-vice president is mounting. The FBI raid on his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida has enraged his fan base but also increased the likelihood that he will be prosecuted for withholding information that could compromise national security.
Earlier this month, Trump was deposed in a lawsuit brought by the attorney general of New York over his company’s financial statements, and he refused to answer questions based on his right against self-incrimination. Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani testified last week in front of a special grand jury in Atlanta, Georgia, which is looking into efforts to overturn the election results in that state.
On Sunday, an appeals court temporarily exempted South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham from testifying in front of the same grand jury in Fulton county for his role in Trump’s pressure campaign on Georgia officials to overturn the state’s election results.
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