5 Takeaways From Cheney’s Media Blitz Days After Ouster From GOP Leadership

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 12: Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) talks to reporters after House Republicans voted to remove her as conference chair in the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center on May 12, 2021 in Washington, DC. GOP members re... WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 12: Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) talks to reporters after House Republicans voted to remove her as conference chair in the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center on May 12, 2021 in Washington, DC. GOP members removed Cheney from her leadership position after she become a target for former President Donald Trump and his followers in the House as she has continually expressed the need for the Republican Party to separate themselves from Trump over his role in the January 6 attack on the Capitol. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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May 16, 2021 5:38 p.m.

On the heels of her ouster as the No. 3 Republican and House Republicans continuing to downplay the violence of the deadly Capitol insurrection during a hearing last week, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) on Sunday stood by her vehement criticism of former President Trump as well as Republicans who still egg on his election fraud falsehoods well after he left office.

Last week, House Republicans voted behind closed doors to remove Cheney as the caucus’ conference chair amid her refusal to bend to Trump’s false claims of a stolen election. House Republicans elected Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) to replace Cheney as the No. 3 Republican after receiving endorsements from House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA).

During an interview on the “Today” show that was filmed moments after House Republicans booted her from GOP leadership, Cheney tore into McCarthy when asked whether the House minority leader placed his ambitions to be speaker of the House above principle by orchestrating her demotion over her criticism of Trump.

“I think that it is sad, and I think it’s dangerous,” Cheney said, during an interview on the “Today” show last week.

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A few days later, Cheney stood by her criticisms of the former president while expressing her dismay over the GOP’s embrace of the big lie that led to her ouster, during interviews on ABC News and Fox News Sunday:

Cheney says ‘relatively small number’ of Republican colleagues believe election was stolen

After saying that she wouldn’t be surprised if McCarthy was subpoenaed by a bipartisan 9/11-style commission to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, Cheney was asked about how many of her colleagues actually believe in false claims of a stolen election.

“I think it’s a relatively small number,” Cheney said.

Cheney said that she agrees with Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), who was one of the few Republicans that voted in favor of Trump’s impeachment for “incitement of insurrection” like Cheney, who said that a “handful” believe in the former president’s election fraud falsehoods.

Asked whether Republicans who peddle Trump’s bogus claims are trying to placate the former president, Cheney replied that the GOP is in a “really dangerous” situation because of Trump’s enduring influence on the party.

Cheney believes some Republicans aren’t speaking out against Trump’s falsehoods due to safety concerns

Cheney stated that it’s “very important” to stand up for what’s right, before claiming that many of her colleagues fear for their safety if they were to speak out against Trump’s baseless claims.

“I know that there are many members who have expressed concern about their own security,” Cheney said. “And I think that’s an important point to think about as well, that we now live in a country where members’ votes are affected because they’re worried about their security, they’re worried about threats on their lives. So I think that’s part of it.”

Cheney added that despite the majority of the Republican Party’s failure to speak out against election fraud falsehoods like she does, it’s her responsibility as an elected official to “tell the truth.”

Cheney torches ‘indefensible’ downplaying of Capitol insurrection by House GOP colleagues

Pressed on several House Republicans repeatedly brushing off the severity of the violence behind the Capitol insurrection during a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing last week, Cheney said that she finds it “indefensible” that her colleagues have the nerve to downplay what happened on Jan. 6.

“I will never forget seeing the law enforcement officers, the members of the SWAT team, the rapid response forces, seeing them and their exhaustion,” Cheney said. “And they had been through hand-to-hand combat and, you know, people died.”

Alluding to a remark by Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-GA), who likened the mob of Trump supporters that breached the Capitol on Jan. 6 to a “normal tourist visit,” Cheney said that remarks that the mischaracterize the deadly Capitol insurrection are “disgraceful and despicable.”

“And, you know, I won’t be part of whitewashing what happened on January 6,” Cheney said. “Nobody should be part of it. And people ought to be held accountable.”

Cheney stands by her view that Trump is a ‘danger’ to democracy

Cheney told Fox News Sunday anchor Chris Wallace that Trump “continues to be a real danger” for his continued efforts to delegitimize the election process.

“You know, what he’s doing is he’s causing people to believe that they can’t count on our electoral process to actually convey the will of the people,” Cheney said. “You know, we have to be a nation of laws. If you reject the rulings of the courts, if you work against the rulings of our courts, then you really are at war with the Constitution. And he is a continuing danger to our system.”

Cheney expressed her dismay over the former president misleading the millions of people who support him.

“They’ve been betrayed,” Cheney said. “And certainly as we see his continued action to attack our democracy, his continued refusal to accept the results of the last election, you see that ongoing danger.”

Cheney takes aim at McCarthy and Stefanik for peddling Trump’s election fraud falsehoods

Asked whether both McCarthy and Stefanik are complicit in pushing the big lie that Trump continues to espouse, Cheney unequivocally agreed that they are.

“And I’m not willing to do that,” Cheney said. “You know, I think that there are some things that have to be bigger than party, that have to be bigger than partisanship. Our oath to the Constitution is one of those.”

After saying that she has worked in countries where a peaceful transition of power does not occur, Cheney argued that Trump’s continued attacks on the Constitution and the rule of law is “dangerous” and that lawmakers are obligated to stand up against that.

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