What did Liz Cheney say about Donald Trump and the Republican Party?
Trying to combat Donald Trump’s ‘big lie’, Liz Cheney was removed from her House leadership roles for speaking out against the former President.
Congresswomen from Wyoming and daughter of former Vice-President Dick Cheney, Elizabeth ‘Liz’ Cheney, was removed from her House leadership positions this week over comments she made about Donald Trump.
Rep. Cheney being ousted is a stark reminder that the vast majority of Republican lawmakers still see Donald Trump as the party’s leader, or are afraid that opposition to the former president could jeopardize their own seats in the legislature.
What did Cheney say about Donald Trump? ‘
For months after the November 2020 election, President Trump pushed ‘a big lie’. Oxford Dictionary describes a big lie as a tool used to distort or misrepresent facts, “especially when used as a propaganda device by a politician or official body.” The term was originally coined by Adolf Hitler in the 1930s to blame the Jewish population for the German loss of World War I when in reality it was all part of his ‘big lie’ to rise to power and maintain it over the next decade.
Historians were especially nervous after Donald Trump began doubting the credibility of the election results as they understood the power ‘big lies’ can have on society and people. These fears were realized on 6 January when a mob of more than a thousand Trump supporters, some of which were armed, stormed the US Capital, putting the lives of lawmakers, staff, Capital police, and even the Vice President at risk. The January insurrection took the lives of five people, including one woman who was shot on the capitol grounds by police, and a Capitol Police officer who committed suicide after not being able to cope with the violence of the event.
Shortly after the event, Democrats in the House called an impeachment vote, during which Liz Cheney and nine other Republicans voted in favor. In a speech defending her position before the vote, Rep. Cheney stated, “The President of the United States summoned this mob, assembled this mob, and lit the flame of this attack”, continuing saying that “there has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution.”
Since her speech and subsequent vote in favor of impeachment, calls from within her party to have her removed from her leadership roles have grown. The Congresswomen narrowly survived a vote shortly after the impeachment, but on 12 May, another vote was called and she was stripped of her leadership positions.
In a speech before the May vote, Rep. Cheney voiced her opposition to Donald Trump saying, “Today we face a threat America has never seen before. A former president, who provoked a violent attack on this Capitol in an effort to steal the election, has resumed his aggressive effort to convince Americans that the election was stolen from him.” Cheney spoke directly to the ‘big lie’ arguing that “remaining silent and ignoring the lie emboldens the liar.” Without calling out members of the Republican caucus directly, the Congresswoman explained what she sees as the “duty” of lawmakers, namely putting country before party.
After the vote to remove her from Republican leadership was approved, Cheney told reporters that she would continue to “do everything I can to ensure that the former president never again gets anywhere near the Oval Office.”
Rep. Cheney has received some support from members of her party, including former Senator Jeff Flake who has also been an outspoken critic of President Trump.
What consequences has Liz Cheney faced?
In the House only 14% of Republican members are women and before the Wednesday vote, many saw Cheney as a rising star in conservative politics. Before being ousted, Rep. Cheney had served as the “Chair of the House Republican Conference.”
In her home state of Wyoming, the state Republican party passed a motion to censure the Congresswomen for her comments, which could foreshadow issues with her possible reelection in 2022. Additionally, many Trump loyalists have already begun to campaign against her, and in a state that voted for the president by nearly 70%, such opposition to Trump leaves you with few political allies.
Former President Trump was pleased to hear the news that Cheney had been removed from leadership and in a statement released by his team, he stuck to his old ways and made deeply personal attacks against the Congresswomen and her father.