Former Sen. Alan Simpson (R-WY) told his side of a recent heated encounter with Lynne Cheney to the Casper Star-Tribune this week, confirming that the former vice president’s wife told him to “shut up.”
“She just said, ‘Shut up,’” Simpson told the newspaper during an interview on Tuesday. “You can just read into it what you want to. I don’t know what she meant. She was very intense.”
Simpson’s daughter-in-law, Deb Oakley Simpson, wrote on her Facebook page Saturday that Cheney confronted Simpson at a fundraiser in Cody, Wyo. over his support for Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY). Enzi is facing a primary challenge from Cheney’s daughter, Liz Cheney, and the Facebook post suggested the confrontation was about the race.
But the former senator told the newspaper the dispute stemmed from an interaction a few weeks earlier at an fundraiser in Laramie, Wyo. Liz Cheney’s daughter asked Simpson to sign a football at that event, a request he said he declined out of concern the football would be used for campaign purposes.
Lynne Cheney described a similar interaction in a statement emailed from her daughter’s campaign to the Star-Tribune.
“It was about Al’s blowup at the FMC event in Laramie, when my 15-year-old granddaughter asked him to sign a football to be used to raise money for cancer patients in Rock Springs,” Cheney said of the confrontation at the Cody fundraiser. “Al was rude to my granddaughter and I told him he was out of line. The topic was not Mike Enzi.”
Simpson told the Star-Tribune that he’s often signed footballs that were later used for charity or campaign purposes, and said that when he refused, “that obviously set off something.”
The former senator told the newspaper that he wasn’t sure if he’d stump for Enzi during the primary campaign.
“It’s a deep-, deep-, deep-rooted friendship,” he said of Enzi. “I didn’t have that friendship with Liz.”
Catherine Thompson is a senior editor for Talking Points Memo in New York City. She came to the site in 2013 and reported on national affairs. Previously, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.