Representative Liz Cheney, the Republican from Wyoming and vice chair of the House committee investigating the January 6, 2021 Capitol riot, grimly described former President Donald J. Trump Wednesday night as a threat to the Republic that ” went to war”. with the rule of law.”
“Right now we are faced with a domestic threat that we have never seen before — and that is a former president trying to unravel the foundations of our constitutional republic,” Ms. Cheney said in a speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, where her speech was met with a sustained standing ovation.
“He is being aided by Republican leaders and elected officials who have willingly taken themselves hostage from this dangerous and irrational man,” she said, adding, “Even after all we’ve seen, they make his lies possible.”
Ms. Cheney spoke at a time when Mr. Trump may be about to announce a 2024 presidential campaign, according to his advisers, raising the prospect of a leading candidate in early polls who also faces active civil and criminal investigations. . Mr Trump has also continued to repeat lies about his 2020 election loss, claiming the contest was “stolen” from him.
“As the full picture comes into view with the Jan. 6 commission, it has become apparent that the efforts that Donald Trump oversaw and engaged in were even more horrifying and threatening than we could have imagined,” said Ms. Cheney. .
Republicans, she said on another point, “must choose” because they “cannot be both loyal to Donald Trump and loyal to the Constitution.”
It was a striking comment by the daughter of a Republican former vice president, Dick Cheney, to the current Republican Party leader, even though he is not in office. Ms. Cheney was a supporter of Mr Trump until shortly after the 2020 election, when she criticized him for his baseless allegations of fraud.
In May 2021, she said she regretted voting for him the year before.
Ms. Cheney, who was forced out of her leadership position as the No. 3 Republican in the House last year when she repeatedly berated Mr Trump for the Jan. 6 events, has become a fairly isolated presence within a party that remains heavily under spell of the former president.
She is seen as a potential presidential candidate in the 2024 election, in which she could try to plant a flag that shows how the party has changed from the one her father helped lead to one that has been reformed by Trumpism.
Ms. Cheney began her speech by talking about undemocratic countries around the world and nations that oppose the United States, including Russia and China. From there she spoke about Mr Trump.
She praised Cassidy Hutchinson, a former aide to Mark Meadows, Trump’s last White House chief of staff, for her public testimony in Congress the day before.
“Her bravery and patriotism were amazing to watch,” said Ms. Cheney.
Ms. Cheney faces a Trump-backed primary challenger for her Congressional seat in Wyoming in August, and the race is widely seen as an uphill battle for her.