Cheney defiant after House GOP vote, says she'll do 'everything I can' to keep Trump from Oval Office
Liz Cheney ousted from GOP leadership
Rep. Liz Cheney speaks to press after House Republicans voted her out as Conference Chair.
Rep. Liz Cheney on Wednesday said that she will do “everything I can” to ensure that former President Donald Trump does not win the presidency again after she was ousted from House GOP leadership for her repeated broadsides against him.
“I will do everything I can to ensure that the former president never again never gets anywhere near the Oval Office,” she said after being quickly removed as the Republican conference chair via voice vote. “We have seen the danger that he continues to provoke with his language. We have seen his lack of commitment and dedication to the Constitution. And I think it’s very important that we make sure whomever we elect is somebody that will be faithful to the Constitution.”
Cheney was one of 10 House Republicans to vote to impeach Trump in January, a move that provoked an effort to remove her from her job as the third-ranking House Republican earlier this year. She easily survived that with the backing of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.
Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington on Wednesday, May 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
Cheney, at the beginning of House Republicans Wednesday meeting in which they replaced her, prayed and warned that those still supporting Trump risk tarnishing their legacy, according to a source familiar with her remarks.
“If you want leaders who will enable and spread his destructive lies, I’m not your person, you have plenty of others to choose from. That will be their legacy,” she said.
“Dear God, Fill us with a love of freedom and a reverence for all your gifts. Help us to understand the gravity of this moment. Help us to remember that democratic systems can fray and suddenly unravel. When they do, they are gone forever,” Cheney also said, praying. “Help us to speak the truth and remember the words of John 8:32 – Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.”
But as Republicans in general, including many who voted to impeach Trump, have attempted to put the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol and Trump’s false claims that the presidential election was stolen in the rearview mirror, Cheney continued to harp on the issue.
“We must go forward based on truth. We cannot both embrace the big lie and embrace the Constitution,” she said after the vote Wednesday. “The nation needs a party that is based upon fundamental principles of conservatism. And I am committed and dedicated to ensuring that that’s how this party goes forward and I plan to lead the fight to do that.”
Cheney added: “We’ve got to get back to a place where we are a party that can fight for conservative principles that can fight for substance. We cannot be dragged backward by the very dangerous lies of a former president.”
Rep. Byron Donalds, R-Fla., on Wednesday said he voted against Cheney because she was becoming a “distraction.”
Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, who voted to convict Trump in the Senate, recently said that it’s time to “move on” from the election, according to Politico.
Former President Donald Trump walks on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020, after stepping off Marine One. Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., repeatedly lambasted Trump over his false election claims in recent weeks, Republican House members to oust her as their chair, calling her a "distraction." (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
“I tend to focus on policy, not personalities. And I made my [impeachment] decision very clear by giving a long floor speech explaining it. And it’s time to move on to the challenges we’re facing,” she said.
Cheney’s continued focus on trying to get fellow Republicans to condemn Trump — even as many still enthusiastically embrace him and McCarthy was visiting with Trump to mend fences after the impeachment saga — exploded in recent weeks into what many Republicans viewed as an unsalvageable situation.
“He said, you know, we have to be unified and continued this whole unity theme,” Cheney ally Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., said Wednesday, summarizing remarks by McCarthy ahead of the voice vote. “I’m all for unity, I’m all for unity and truth. Truth cannot coexist with lies.”
“I do not,” Cheney said Wednesday when asked if she felt betrayed. “I think that it is an indication of where the Republican Party is, and I think that the party is in a place that we’ve got to bring it back from.”
The GOP conference is expected to move in the coming days to install Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., a staunch Trump defender, as the new conference chair.
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“Despite the media’s endless attempts to divide us, our Members are united in our laser focus on defeating the radical Socialist Democrat agenda of President Biden and Speaker Pelosi,” Stefanik said in a letter to fellow Republicans Wednesday.
She promised a “disciplined, unified message from our leadership team” and said a “unified leadership team is the key foundation as we work to regain the Majority.”
Fox News’ Chad Pergram and Alexandra Rego contributed to this report.
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