In a fiery address given from the floor of the House of Representatives late Tuesday, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) vowed to continue her crusade against former President Donald Trump despite becoming a persona non grata in her own party.
“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,” said Cheney, the third-most powerful Republican in Congress.
Cheney faces a near-certain ouster from congressional leadership on Wednesday, in which she serves as conference chair. She cast the stripping of her post as an inflection point for the Republican Party, which on the whole remains loyal to the twice-impeached president, who has repeatedly claimed that the 2020 vote was rife with fraud, despite no evidence ever emerging to support this claim, and several courts throwing out lawsuits making such allegations.
“Remaining silent and ignoring the lie emboldens the liar,” Cheney continued. “I will not participate in that. I will not sit back and watch in silence while others lead our party down a path that abandons the rule of law and joins the former president’s crusade to undermine our democracy. Our election was not stolen, and America has not failed.”
Cheney has faced fierce blowback from her own party over her criticism of the former president, which included voting to impeach him following the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) has endorsed Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) to take Cheney’s place, and he was caught on a hot mic saying he had “had it with her.” Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) traveled to Cheney’s home state to hold rallies against her.
Republican lawmakers also reportedly walked out ahead of Cheney's speech late Tuesday, with Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) the only one who stayed behind to listen to her, according to CNN’s Annie Grayer.
Of Trump, Cheney warned: “He risks inciting further violence. Millions of Americans have been misled by the former president. They have heard his words, but not the truth. As he continues to undermine our democratic process, sowing seeds of doubt about whether democracy really works at all.”
The GOP has stayed by Trump’s side despite his loss in the 2020 election and his continued whinging claims of election fraud. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), one of Trump’s closest allies and staunchest defenders, said earlier Tuesday that the party would deflate without him.
“He’s the most popular Republican in the country by a lot,” Graham told Fox News. “If you try to drive him out of the Republican Party, half the people will leave.” He added that he had lost confidence in Cheney as a leader.