Liz Cheney Embraces Downfall, Offering Herself as a Cautionary Tale

WASHINGTON — In the hours earlier than dealing with a vote that may nearly definitely purge her from House Republican management, Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming remained unrepentant on Tuesday, framing her expulsion as a turning level for her occasion and declaring in a unprecedented speech that she wouldn’t sit quietly by as Republicans deserted the rule of regulation.

Delivering the broadside from the House flooring on Tuesday evening, Ms. Cheney took a fiery final stand, warning that former President Donald J. Trump had created a risk that the nation had by no means seen earlier than: a president who had “provoked a violent attack” on his personal Capitol “in an effort to steal the election,” after which continued to unfold his election lies.

“Remaining silent and ignoring the lie emboldens the liar,” Ms. Cheney stated. “I will not participate in that. I will not sit back and watch in silence while others lead our party down a path that abandons the rule of law and joins the former president’s crusade to undermine our democracy.”

Her defiant exit — and unmistakable jab on the House Republican leaders working to oust her — illustrates Ms. Cheney’s dedication to proceed her blunt condemnation of Mr. Trump and her occasion’s position in spreading the false election claims that impressed the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol. On the precipice of the vote to take away her on Wednesday, she has embraced her downfall moderately than struggle it, providing herself as a cautionary story in what she is portraying as a battle for the soul of the Republican Party.

Emphasizing that framing, Ms. Cheney wore a reproduction pin of George Washington’s battle flag on Tuesday evening as she spoke on the House flooring.

“I think Liz understands it’s not worth selling your soul for No. 3 in the minority,” stated Barbara Comstock, a former Republican congresswoman from Virginia and a buddy of Ms. Cheney’s. “She’s just not going to do that.”

Ms. Cheney’s remorseless final stand — and the chilly reception it acquired from House Republicans, who cleared from the chamber as she started her remarks — additionally highlighted how Republican leaders, even of their eagerness to rebuild their occasion after the riot and Mr. Trump’s stormy departure from the White House, have tethered themselves to his election lies as a matter of survival.

As a alternative, leaders have united behind Representative Elise Stefanik of New York, a onetime reasonable whose fealty to Mr. Trump and backing for his false narrative of a stolen election have earned her broad assist from the occasion’s rank and file that Ms. Cheney, as a lifelong conservative, not instructions. It is a exceptional arc for the Wyoming Republican, the daughter of a conservative dynasty who was as soon as spoken of as a future speaker and now stands on the cusp of being relegated to the political wilderness.

Ms. Cheney’s allies say she views the ouster as a part of an existential battle and intends to maintain up her criticism even from exile within the rank and file. The short-term political penalties will nearly absolutely work towards her, each in Washington and at residence.

Ms. Cheney is underneath assault in Wyoming, the place conservatives who’ve sought to use her antagonism of Mr. Trump are hoping to unseat her in a main. And any presidential aspirations she could have nursed seem sure to be delayed — if not dashed — given her determination to tackle a determine whom the Republican base reveres.

The drama that unfolded on Tuesday earlier than the vote underscored the iron grip that Mr. Trump nonetheless has on the occasion, as hard-right Republicans started to publicly argue that Ms. Stefanik was not sufficiently conservative nor supportive sufficient of the previous president to guide the convention.

In a memo circulated by Representative Chip Roy of Texas that was reported by Politico, Mr. Roy tore into Ms. Stefanik and accused the Republican leaders who’ve championed her of “rushing to coronate a spokesperson whose voting record embodies much of what led” to Republicans’ drubbing within the 2018 midterm elections.

He additionally denounced Ms. Cheney for “unhelpfully engaging in personal attacks and finger-wagging towards President Trump rather than leading the conference forward.” Mr. Roy’s letter mirrored a dedication amongst conservatives — who led the primary, unsuccessful effort to oust Ms. Cheney in February — to exert their will on the occasion’s message.

Even outspoken allies of Ms. Cheney earlier this 12 months appeared able to abandon her. Representative Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin, a fellow protection hawk, told The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that he deliberate to vote to oust Ms. Cheney from management. In backing Ms. Cheney in February, Mr. Gallagher had warned that “we must be a big tent party or else condemn ourselves to irrelevance.”

But on Tuesday, Mr. Gallagher stated in a press release: “House Democrats under Speaker Pelosi have been ruthless in advancing their radical progressive agenda, and Representative Cheney can no longer unify the House Republican conference in opposition to that agenda.”

Instead, Ms. Cheney discovered a set of unlikely allies rallying to her facet: Democratic leaders.

“Liz Cheney spoke truth to power, and for that she is being fired,” stated Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the bulk chief.

Representative Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, the No. 2 House Democrat, chimed in to say he discovered it “sad” to observe Republican leaders pledge fealty to “such a dysfunctional leader as Donald Trump.”

Similar reward from Democrats had infuriated Republicans in January, after Ms. Cheney launched a prolonged, unsparing assertion saying that she would vote to question Mr. Trump. Democrats quoted liberally from it on the House flooring, to the dismay and embarrassment of Republicans, a few of whom felt that the Wyoming Republican was grandstanding to additional her political ambitions.

Ms. Cheney’s detractors have accused her of continuous to take action.

“I think she made a calculated decision that she would rather be a martyr than try to accommodate her own conference,” Newt Gingrich, a former Republican House speaker, instructed Fox News’s Maria Bartiromo this week. “She has every right as an individual member to say and do what she wants to. But she has no right as the chair of the conference to take the power and the prestige that the conference has given her and use it to undermine the conference.”

Ms. Cheney, nevertheless, has repeatedly warned that making an attempt to keep away from speaking in regards to the riot and Mr. Trump’s false election claims won’t solely additional alienate would-be Republican voters, but additionally trigger “profound long-term damage” to the nation. A former State Department official, she has invoked the parallels between what unfolded on Jan. 6 and her work in authoritarian nations to elucidate why she was so decided to publicly condemn the tried rebel.

“History is watching. Our children are watching,” Ms. Cheney wrote in a scathing Washington Post op-ed article final week. “We must be brave enough to defend the basic principles that underpin and protect our freedom and our democratic process. I am committed to doing that, no matter what the short-term political consequences might be.”

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