Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming has drawn the ire of Trump supporters since she strongly condemned the violent insurrection and coup attempt at the Capitol on January 6, 2021. Cheney was among a handful of House Republicans to support impeachment in the days after the Trump-inspired mob killed and injured Capitol police officers and came painstakingly close to massacring members of Congress and Vice President Mike Pence, who was performing his constitutional duty overseeing the counting of electoral votes against the wishes of Trump.
Now Donald Trump, his supporters, and his enablers in the Republican Party are seeking retribution against Cheney and others who dared to hold the former president accountable for his actions perpetuating the lie that the election was stolen, rallying his supporters immediately before the attack on the Capitol, and refusing to call his supporters off after violence broke out. They want to strip Cheney of her leadership position in the House Republican caucus.
That effort would be fruitless without the backing of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California. But McCarthy has turned on Cheney, essentially guaranteeing her removal from the party’s leadership. Both the highest-ranking and second-highest-ranking Republicans in the House back replacing Cheney as House GOP conference chair.
Rather than fight the inevitable behind the scenes, Cheney has penned an op-ed in the Washington Post in which she desperately warns that the “Republican Party is at a turning point, and Republicans must decide whether we are going to choose truth and fidelity to the Constitution.”
Here is an excerpt from the op-ed:
In public statements again this week, former president Donald Trump has repeated his claims that the 2020 election was a fraud and was stolen. His message: I am still the rightful president, and President Biden is illegitimate. Trump repeats these words now with full knowledge that exactly this type of language provoked violence on Jan. 6. And, as the Justice Department and multiple federal judges have suggested, there is good reason to believe that Trump’s language can provoke violence again. Trump is seeking to unravel critical elements of our constitutional structure that make democracy work — confidence in the result of elections and the rule of law. No other American president has ever done this.
The Republican Party is at a turning point, and Republicans must decide whether we are going to choose truth and fidelity to the Constitution. In the immediate wake of the violence of Jan. 6, almost all of us knew the gravity and the cause of what had just happened — we had witnessed it firsthand.
House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) left no doubt in his public remarks. On the floor of the House on Jan. 13, McCarthy said: “The president bears responsibility for Wednesday’s attack on Congress by mob rioters. He should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding.” Now, McCarthy has changed his story.
I am a conservative Republican, and the most conservative of conservative values is reverence for the rule of law. Each of us swears an oath before God to uphold our Constitution. The electoral college has spoken. More than 60 state and federal courts, including multiple Trump-appointed judges, have rejected the former president’s arguments, and refused to overturn election results. That is the rule of law; that is our constitutional system for resolving claims of election fraud.
Image Credit: Tyler Merbler, Flickr, CC BY 2.0