Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), who is one of the few Republicans in Congress who have been willing to go against the party line on just about any major issue, spoke out this week to condemn former President Donald Trump’s response to a retirement announcement from Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R-Ohio). Gonzalez was one of ten House Republicans (including Cheney) who voted in favor of impeaching Trump on a charge of incitement of insurrection after the January riot at the Capitol. True to form, Trump celebrated Gonzalez’s announcement that he would not be seeking re-election in 2022, calling his imminent departure “no loss for Ohio or our Country.”
Cheney characterized Trump’s reaction to Gonzalez as yet another indicator of the former president’s “war with the Constitution.” Trump has shown no contrition over the role of his own rhetoric and behavior in the formation of the January Capitol violence. Instead, he has stuck by his rhetorical attacks targeting those who’ve sought to take even some of the most basic steps to hold him accountable. For instance, Trump described Gonzalez in his new statement as having cast an “ill-informed and otherwise very stupid impeachment vote.”
Cheney pointedly commented as follows:
‘On Constitution Day, Donald Trump’s statement about Rep. Anthony Gonzalez reminds us all, once again, that Trump is at war with the Constitution.’
On Constitution Day, Donald Trump’s statement about Rep. Anthony Gonzalez reminds us all, once again, that Trump is at war with the Constitution.
— Liz Cheney (@Liz_Cheney) September 17, 2021
“Constitution Day” is an observance held on September 17 to commemorate the signing of the Constitution on that day in 1787. Cheney has previously used similar language to characterize Trump’s behavior throughout recent months. In the immediate aftermath of the assault on the Capitol by Trump supporters, Cheney described Trump’s actions leading up to and surrounding the Capitol riot by saying that there “has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution.”
It’s worth noting that Trump explicitly sought to justify what had happened in the immediate aftermath of the onslaught, writing on Twitter that “these are the things and events that happen” when an election is stolen — although the presidential election obviously wasn’t actually stolen. More recently, Trump again showed affinity for the rioters, saying in a new statement that Americans’ “hearts and minds are with the people being persecuted so unfairly relating to the January 6th protest concerning the Rigged Presidential Election.” While it’s obviously flat-out ridiculous to describe what happened on January 6 at the Capitol as a mere “protest,” Trump’s troubling apparent acceptance of what unfolded seems clear.