In a recent interview with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, former GOP Congresswoman Liz Cheney of Wyoming characterized the path taken by Speaker of the House Mike Johnson as a threat to the functioning of democracy. Johnson, a Louisiana Republican, helped lead House Republican support after the 2020 election for attempts in Trump’s circles to undermine its outcome.
Contexts for that House GOP support included the failed Texas lawsuit challenging Joe Biden’s wins in several other states and the eventual rounds of voting in Congress itself on whether to certify certain, key electoral votes that Biden had won.
“What I learned was that he was willing to do things he knew to be wrong in order to placate Donald Trump,” Cheney told the host. “And again, a situation where you have a Speaker of the House who […] so clearly set aside what he knew to be the facts, what he knew to be the law, what he knew to be our obligations under the Constitution in order to try to help Donald Trump in his efforts in 2020 — we cannot count on a majority of Republicans, on someone like that to do the right thing, to uphold the Constitution.”
Johnson, like most others who were in Trump’s circles and supportive of his efforts after the 2020 race, has not substantially distanced himself from what transpired. Trump himself — who continues to enjoy extensive support inside the Republican Party, including among elected officials — continues propagating the lies about elections in the U.S. that spurred the Capitol riot in early 2021 and set in motion the attempted electoral subversion that Johnson joined. Cheney said potentially precarious situations should Johnson remain in charge include a presidential election going to the House because no candidate outright nabs an electoral college majority or the upcoming certification proceedings scheduled for after the 2024 race.
There has been an update to Congress’s handling of the routine certification proceedings, with the threshold raised for objections to certain electoral college votes going to debate and further voting. Though previously a member in each chamber was needed, now it’ll be one-fifth of each.