Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) will soon face Election Day in the Republican primary for her Wyoming Congressional seat, and polling suggests she could lose to Trump endorsement-recipient Harriet Hageman — but Cheney is making clear that her interest extends far beyond simply winning re-election.
“Yet for Ms. Cheney, the race stopped being about political survival months ago,” The New York Times summarized, discussing her Wyoming Congressional campaign. “Instead, she’s used the Aug. 16 contest as a sort of a high-profile stage for her martyrdom — and a proving ground for her new crusade.” In an interview, Cheney added: “If the cost of standing up for the Constitution is losing the House seat, then that’s a price I’m willing to pay.” Not only is Cheney prepared to potentially lose, but concurrently, she’s clearly ready to continue the rhetorical fight against the dangers of Trump and those like him. The Times notes Cheney isn’t even shutting down the notion she’ll run for president, although it’s unclear how successful she might be considering the Trump-dominated nature of so much of the modern GOP.
At a recent house party in Wyoming that was reported on by the Times, the host introduced the Congresswoman in part with a discussion of the late Maine Senator Margaret Chase Smith, a Republican who went after Joseph McCarthy and subsequently became the first female contender for the presidency from a major party. (She lost that year’s nomination.) “The attendees applauded at the parallel, as Ms. Cheney smiled,” as the Times explained it. As for how Cheney might respond to other potential contenders, the Times says that ‘when asked if the G.O.P. she was raised in was even salvageable in the short term, she said: “It may not be” and called her party “very sick.”’ Cheney added that the Republican Party “is continuing to drive itself in a ditch and I think it’s going to take several cycles if it can be healed.”
In terms of her distancing from Trump, Cheney remains in the minority inside the GOP. No matter the evidence presented by the House panel investigating the Capitol riot, where she’s vice chair, and no matter admissions from Trump himself about what basically amounts to his backing of what happened at the Capitol, and no matter the multiple investigations at the federal, state, and local levels into various aspects of Trump’s actions in business and politics, there’s been no large-scale break with Trump in the GOP. There’s no campaign by party leadership to push back on his potential presidential campaign in 2024. He’s still broadly welcomed.
Cheney indicated she wouldn’t support someone in the next presidential election who refused to acknowledge the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election outcome. She called the prospect of supporting potential presidential campaigner and Florida GOP Governor Ron DeSantis in a general election for president “very difficult,” adding: “I think that Ron DeSantis has lined himself up almost entirely with Donald Trump, and I think that’s very dangerous.”
Cheney also indicated, among other particular points of concern, that certain Democratic women in the House are, to her, better colleagues than figures like Lauren Boebert. “I would much rather serve with Mikie Sherrill and Chrissy Houlahan and Elissa Slotkin than Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert, even though on substance certainly I have big disagreements with the Democratic women I just mentioned,” Cheney said. “But they love this country, they do their homework and they are people that are trying to do the right thing for the country.” The Congresswoman added that what “the country needs are serious people who are willing to engage in debates about policy” — something Boebert and Greene don’t provide.