No one is in a hotter seat in today’s Republican Party than Liz Cheney.
The Wyoming Republican, who is the third-ranking member of House Republican leadership, was not-so-subtly called out by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (California) earlier this week at a GOP retreat in Orlando, Florida.
“There’s a responsibility, if you’re gonna be in leadership, leaders eat last,” McCarthy said. “And when leaders try to go out, and not work as one team, it creates difficulties.” When asked whether Cheney was still a “good fit” for the leadership team, McCarthy responded, “That’s a question for the conference,” Punchbowl News’ Jake Sherman reported Tuesday.
Hours later, former President Donald Trump sounded off on Cheney. Here’s some of what the 45th president had to say:
“Liz Cheney is polling sooo low in Wyoming, and has sooo little support, even from the Wyoming Republican Party, that she is looking for a way out of her Congressional race. Based on all polling, there is no way she can win. She’ll either be yet another lobbyist or maybe embarrass her family by running for President, in order to save face.”
What, you might ask, has Cheney done to deserve such opprobrium? Well, let’s take a closer look.
1. She condemned Trump for inciting a riot at the US Capitol on January 6, 2021.
2. She voted to impeach Trump – one of 10 House Republicans to do so – and in a statement explaining her vote, said that “the President of the United States summoned this mob, assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack.”
3. She suggested earlier this week that Republicans who voted to object to the Electoral College results – after the riot on January 6 – should be disqualified from leading the Party in the future – particularly as the 2024 presidential nominee. (Important note: There was not then and is not now any evidence of wrongdoing or fraud as it relates to the 2020 presidential election.)
Whoa boy! Pretty radical! And not at all conservative!
Cheney has a 98% score from the conservative Heritage Action group. And a 0 rating from NARAL Pro Choice America. Heck, according to 538, Cheney voted with Trump almost 93% of the time during his four years in office.
So what, exactly, has Cheney done wrong? She condemned an armed insurrection against the US Capitol and a President who spoke at a rally hours before, telling his supporters that “you’ll never take back our country with weakness, you have to show strength and you have to be strong.” And who, after hours of refusing to tell the mob to disburse, released a video in which he said, in part: “I know your pain. I know you’re hurt. We had an election that was stolen from us.”
As for her vote to impeach Trump, you can certainly disagree on procedural grounds (can you impeach and remove someone from office who is no longer in office?) but it’s hard to question the principled decision she made.
And yet, Cheney is being barraged on all sides for somehow not being a team player or adhering close enough to party principles. Which shows you just how much of the Trump cult of personality has replaced any sort of actual “party principles” for the vast majority of Republican elected officials in this country.