WASHINGTON – Rep. Liz Cheney, the night before her colleagues are expected to vote on whether to remove her from House Republican leadership, ripped into former President Donald Trump and his debunked election fraud claims on the House floor.
“Millions of Americans have been misled by the former president. They hear his words but not the truth,” the Wyoming Republican said Tuesday evening in a scathing six-minute speech.
Cheney, the third most-powerful House Republican, has angered some in the party for her repeated criticism of Trump and his claim the 2020 election was stolen from him.
A chorus of House Republicans, led by GOP House Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., is now calling for her removal from her position as House Republican Conference chair, saying her repeated pushback of Trump’s claims are distracting from the party’s effort to retake the House next year.
A vote behind closed doors and by secret ballot is scheduled for Wednesday morning.
Cheney was unbowed as she spoke in a firm and steady tone Tuesday.
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“This is not about policy. This is not about partisanship. This is about our duty as Americans,” she said. “Remaining silent and ignoring the lie emboldens the liar. 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.”
Trump was impeached in January, charged with inciting a pro-Trump mob that broke into the U.S. Capitol, ransacked hallways, offices and the House and Senate chambers. The riot left five dead and injured about 140.Cheney, the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, was one of 10 Republicans who voted to impeach Trump.
“Today, we face a threat America has never seen before. A former president who provoked a violent attack on this Capitol, in an effort to steal the election, has resumed his aggressive effort to convince Americans that the election was stolen from him,” she said Tuesday. “He risks inciting further violence. Millions of Americans have been misled by the former president, they have heard only his words, but not the truth. As he continues to undermine our democratic process, sowing seeds of doubt about whether democracy really works at all.”
During her speech, Cheney invoked America’s role as a beacon of freedom to authoritarian regimes, and said Trump’s claims have damaged the example America has set for decades.
“As the party of Reagan, Republicans have championed democracy, won the Cold War, and defeated the Soviet communists. Today, America is on the cusp of another Cold War, this time with communist China,” she said. “Attacks against our democratic process and the rule of law empower our adversaries and feed communist propaganda that American democracy is a failure. We must speak the truth, our election was not stolen, and America has not failed.”
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Rep. Adam Kinzinger, an Illinois Republican who also voted to impeach Trump last year, tweeted support for Cheney after the speech.
“This is leadership. This is integrity. This is Liz Cheney,” he wrote.