WASHINGTON (AP) – Combative representative Liz Cheney slammed leaders of her own Republican Party on Tuesday evening, speaking in the House on the eve of her near-certain ouster from a leadership position to warn the former president Donald Trump and his GOP supporters threaten to “undermine our democracy.”
In an abruptly announced evening appearance to a nearly empty House room, Cheney, R-Wyo., Introduced herself as a constitutional defender. Her four-minute speech also made it clear that she had no intention of backing down in her battle against a former president who has retained the loyalty of many lawmakers and GOP voters, even though it leaves her once promising political career in question. .
“Staying silent and ignoring the lie emboldens the liar,” she said, adding, “I’m not going to sit and watch in silence while others lead our party down a path that abandons the State of right and joined the former president’s crusade to undermine our democracy. “
Cheney has been facing calls for his removal from executive post for weeks after his repeated public rejection of Trump’s misrepresentation that he lost his candidacy for re-election last November due to widespread cheating. She also emphatically accused him of inciting supporters who stormed the Capitol on January 6, killing five, even as other Republicans sought to play down the attack.
This position has angered many Republicans who say that as her party’s No.3 House Leader she should focus on messages that would help the party gain control of the House in this year’s election. next, and not on internal party divisions over the former president. GOP lawmakers plan to meet behind closed doors on Wednesday and are expected to strip her of her leadership position and ultimately replace her with Rep. Elise Stefanik, RN.Y., a Trump loyalist..
The GOP’s widespread opposition to Cheney’s stubborn stance created a breathtaking moment in which one of the country’s two main parties insists on accepting or silencing the former president’s lies as the prize of the maintaining the republican leadership.
“Millions of Americans have been misled by the former president,” Cheney said. “They have only heard his words, but not the truth as he continues to undermine our democratic process, casting doubt on whether democracy really works.”
The latest peak in hostilities was triggered last week when Trump issued a statement saying, “The fraudulent presidential election of 2020 will, from this day forward, be known as THE BIG LIE!”
On Tuesday, Cheney said, “Today we face a threat America has never seen before. A former president who provoked a violent attack on this Capitol in an effort to steal the election has resumed his aggressive efforts to convince Americans that the election was stolen from him. It risks inciting further violence. “
Trump’s enemies have used “the big lie” to describe his repetition of his spurious claim that the election was full of fraud. State and local courts and agencies across the country have found no evidence that Trump lost to the cheating.
Cheney did not mention his GOP opponents by name. Minority Parliamentary Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and House Republican No. 2 Steve Scalise, R-La., have called for her removal and are backing Stefanik to replace her.
Cheney is a daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney. Her career had firmly defined her as an old-school GOP conservative figure, advocating for tax cuts and a strong American presence abroad.
She has occasionally criticized Trump during his presidency. But their relationship fell apart after she became one of 10 House Republicans to vote for impeaching him for prompting his supporters to invade the Capitol as Congress officially certified President Joe’s victory. Biden at the Electoral College.