Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) isn’t backing down.
As some House Republicans suggest that the third-ranking Republican could be ousted from GOP leadership for her vehement refusal to elevate former President Trump, Cheney took her feud with Trump up a notch in a tweet hitting back at the election fraud falsehoods that he continues to espouse.
The 2020 presidential election was not stolen. Anyone who claims it was is spreading THE BIG LIE, turning their back on the rule of law, and poisoning our democratic system.
— Liz Cheney (@Liz_Cheney) May 3, 2021
Cheney’s tweet appeared to respond to Trump’s statement from his Save America PAC earlier Monday morning. The former president continued to push his falsehoods of a stolen presidential election by attempting to appropriate the term “the big lie,” referencing his false claims of widespread election fraud: “The Fraudulent Presidential Election of 2020 will be, from this day forth, known as THE BIG LIE!”
Later Monday, Cheney reportedly doubled down on decrying the party’s embrace of the “poison” of fraud falsehoods in the 2020 presidential election, and urged the party to not “whitewash” the deadly Capitol insurrection that Trump incited, in an off-the-record interview with former House Speaker Paul Ryan before a crowd of donors and scholars at the annual retreat for the American Enterprise Institute.
“We can’t embrace the notion the election is stolen. It’s a poison in the bloodstream of our democracy,” Cheney said, speaking behind closed doors at a conference in Sea Island, Georgia, according to CNN. “We can’t whitewash what happened on January 6 or perpetuate Trump’s big lie. It is a threat to democracy. What he did on January 6 is a line that cannot be crossed.”
Cheney, one of only 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump for “incitement of insurrection” following the deadly Capitol attack on Jan. 6, has become a target of GOP lawmakers who continue to bend to the will of the former president well after he’s left office. Some House Republicans recently warned that the third-ranking Republican could face another vote that would boot her from her leadership role in the caucus.
Over the weekend, House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) and Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN), the head of the Republican Study Committee, went on the record to blast Cheney during an interview with Axios, floating the suggestion that she could be ousted as conference chair within a month.
Banks told Axios that Cheney’s remarks to reporters during the House GOP’s annual policy retreat last week — when she suggested that the party’s elected leaders are in charge of the GOP and appeared to reiterate that the party should move on from Trump — was an “unwelcome distraction.” Banks questioned whether Cheney could hold on to GOP leadership role in a month.
Scalise defended Trump’s enduring influence on the GOP to Axios.
“President Trump is still a very active part of our party and a vocal leader in our party,” Scalise told Axios.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) also signaled that he no longer plans to defend Cheney if another vote to oust her arises.
When asked during the House GOP’s retreat last week whether Cheney was still a good fit for GOP leadership, McCarthy sidestepped the opportunity to endorse the third-ranking Republican.
“That’s a question for the conference,” McCarthy replied.