WYOMING; JACKSON — On Tuesday night, Liz Cheney gave a historically weighted speech in which she announced that she was at peace with losing her congressional seat but would continue her fight against Donald Trump regardless.
Cheney called her Trump-backed opponent, Harriet Hageman, to concede the race and then announced to a crowd of supporters at a picturesque ranch outside Jackson, Wyo., “This primary election is over.” However, “the real work starts now.”
Cheney offered no regrets for her actions that she believes contributed to her electoral defeat. She also made a comparison between her swift concession and Trump’s protracted denial of his own electoral loss, which she said contributed to the violence on January 6, 2021 and the rise of election deniers within the Republican Party.
While her future plans are still a mystery, Cheney did clarify one aspect of her political future in her speech. She means what she said about doing everything in her power to make sure Donald Trump is never in the Oval Office again, and her fight to protect American democracy is just getting started.
Cheney noted that she won her previous primary with more than 70% of the vote and would have likely won Tuesday night’s race if she hadn’t taken the risk she did by opposing Trump.
But it would have required me to support President Trump’s fabrication about the upcoming 2020 election. “It would have required me to enable his ongoing efforts to unravel our Democratic system and attack the foundations of our republic,” Cheney said. That was a road I was not willing to go down.
At 8:15 p.m., as the sun was setting in Wyoming, Cheney took the stage. Four American flags were displayed on hay bales in front of a mountain backdrop. Alongside the stage was parked a red vintage Chevrolet 3100.
She thanked her parents, former Vice President Dick Cheney and former Second Lady Lynne Cheney, her husband, and their five children, four of whom were present.
She drew heavily from American history, and the Civil War in particular, throughout her remarks. A passage from Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address was cited by her. And she told of how the Union Army won the Civil War thanks to Ulysses S. Grant’s steadfastness.
My own great-great-grandfathers, along with Lincoln and Grant, and all the other men and women who fought in the tragic Civil War of our nation, saved the union. Freedom would not have been preserved without their bravery, Cheney said. They are speaking to us across the ages if only we take the time to listen. Nothing that so many people have died for should be frittered away.
She mentioned, perhaps coyly, that Lincoln had previously failed in his bids for Congress and the presidency.
It wasn’t until the most crucial election that Abraham Lincoln finally prevailed. Lincoln won in the end, she said, “he saved our union, and he defined our obligation as Americans for all time.
It is the responsibility of every American, Cheney said, to seek the truth and safeguard the country’s future. For Cheney, this means not voting for election-denying candidates in November, who he claims will “corrupt” the future of the country, and instead acknowledging the events of January 6.
Despite the fact that our country is relatively young compared to the rest of human history, it is the oldest democracy in the world. The odds of us making it through this are low. “Free nations are doomed to fall because poisonous lies,” she said, citing historical examples.
After Cheney cast the highest-profile Republican vote to impeach Trump on January 6, Trump made her a top target for his takedown campaign. Her prominent position on the House select committee looking into the former president and his inner circle only increased his ire.
Both Wyoming voters and her congressional colleagues swiftly punished Cheney, removing her from the GOP leadership. The fact that Cheney hasn’t denied rumors that she’s considering a run for president after repeatedly using her national platform to criticize Trump has led to such speculation.
Trump supporters attacked Cheney for her speech because she mentioned Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War, but other Republicans applauded her for putting patriotism ahead of party loyalty. While former RNC Chair Michael Steele called Cheney “the Phoenix” and said the GOP wasn’t ready for her, Trump’s former national security adviser John Bolton said she deserves the “highest possible praise.”
Dana Nessel, the Democratic attorney general of Michigan, recently declared Cheney a “American hero.”
Despite her loss on Tuesday, the Wyoming Republican is expected to play an even larger role on the Jan. 6 committee, which has vowed to keep working until the end of the current Congress. As the House select panel prepares for further hearings next month, Cheney will remain in her vice chair position.
At the conclusion of her remarks, she rallied the audience to join her in the next round of her struggle.
As we leave, let us commit to fighting together against those who would destroy our republic, whether you’re a Republican, a Democrat, or an independent. They are furious and resolute,” Cheney said. On the other hand, they have never faced an army of dedicated, principled, and patriotic Americans standing together to defend our Constitution and our freedom. When it comes to power, nothing else compares. Also, God is on our side, so we will win.
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