U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyoming, could probably have held onto her seat in Congress as long as she wanted, if that was all she wanted. But she made a different, more honorable choice, and Tuesday night she paid the honorable price.
Cheney (daughter of Dick Cheney, who held the same seat when Liz Cheney was a kid and later served as U.S. Secretary of Defense and as vice president under George W. Bush), lost her seat in a primary Tuesday, and everyone knows why. She stood up to Donald Trump on the matter of Trump’s election lie and attempted coup.
Cheney chose political courage or political suicide depending on how you look at it. I’ll take courage.
Before she bucked Trump, she likely could’ve held that seat for decades. But when Trump insisted that all Republicans rally around his lie that he had been cheated out of reelection, Cheney was one of a relative few prominent Republicans who rejected the lie.
More than that, when her party’s leaders insisted that loyal Republicans refuse to investigate Trump’s role in the post-election violence at the Capitol, Cheney bucked the leadership and (along with another honorable, brave Republican, Congressman Adam Kinzinger of Illinois) agreed to serve on the investigative committee as vice chair. From that position, she has contributed tough, honest questions of the witnesses. The evidence, as you know, has been devastating to Trump. And the committee is not done yet.
Cheney, who is 10 times more conservative than Donald Trump and 100 times more honest, never flinched from her duty.
Kinzinger, presumably knowing how things would go, didn’t file for reelection.
But Cheney did. Trump vowed to oppose her and did so, supporting her primary opponent, attorney Harriet Hageman, who, as this Yahoo News story summarizes, “paid fealty to Trump by echoing his false claim that the 2020 election was ‘rigged.’”
The Cheney name has been magical in Wyoming Republican circles since Liz’s dad held the state’s only U.S. House seat through the 1980s, before serving as defense secretary under President George H.W. Bush.
But Liz Cheney committed political suicide by serving on that special committee investigating Trump’s coup attempt, and taking the assignment seriously. That slow moving act concluded last night as Hageman crushed Cheney in yesterday’s primary by 66% to 29%. (A small percentage of the vote went to minor candidates.)
To an enthusiastic crowd of her admirers in Jackson, Wyoming, Tuesday night, Liz Cheney said:
“Two years ago, I won this primary with 73 percent of the votes. I could easily have done the same again. The path was clear, but it would have required that I go along with President Trump’s lie about the 2020 election.”
“It would have required that I enable his ongoing efforts to unravel our democratic system and attack the foundations of our Republic. That was a path I could not and would not take. No House seat, no office in this land is more important than the principles that we are all sworn to protect. And I well understood the potential political consequences of abiding by my duty.”
A spokesman for Cheney has told reporters she will be launching an organization to educate the American people “about the ongoing threat to our Republic.”