Former Congresswoman Liz Cheney spoke about the political test she faced in the immediate aftermath of January 6 during her address to graduates of Colorado College this weekend.
Ms Cheney, once a member of Republican leadership and now a pariah in her own party, spoke to graduates on Sunday. She graduated from the school with a degree in political science in 1988.
The ex-lawmaker has left open the possibility of running for office again in the future after her defeat in Wyoming’s GOP primary to now-Congresswoman Harriet Hageman last year. She has even hinted that she may run for president in 2024, setting herself up for a potential debate-stage clash with former President Donald Trump himself.
“After the 2020 election and the attack of January 6th, my fellow Republicans wanted me to lie. They wanted me to say the 2020 election was stolen, the attack of January 6th wasn’t a big deal, and Donald Trump wasn’t dangerous,” she told students and families in her address Sunday, according to the Associated Press. “I had to choose between lying and losing my position in House leadership.”
The former congresswoman also referenced recent comments by an adviser to Mr Trump, Cleta Mitchell, who recently told a Republican National Committee gathering that the GOP should work to make it harder for college students to vote, given the demographic’s progressive bent. The comments, Ms Cheney said, were an example of the Trump movement’s continued threat to American democracy.
“Cleta Mitchell, an election denier and adviser to former President Trump, told a gathering of Republicans recently that it is crucially important to make sure that college students don’t vote,” Ms Cheney said. “Those who are trying to unravel the foundations of our republic, who are threatening the rule of law and the sanctity of our elections, know they can’t succeed if you vote.”
She would be a longshot contender for the GOP nomination, given the Republican primary electorate’s continued support for Mr Trump. There’s little reason to suggest that any Cheney 2024 bid would end differently than her 2022 bid for re-election, where her refusal to support Mr Trump’s continued lies and conspiracies about his loss to Joe Biden cost her a seat in Congress.
But she remains an active player on the national stage, maintaining her political profile, as she and other anti-Trump Republicans like Maryland’s Larry Hogan and New Hampshire’s Chris Sununu bide their time and hunt for openings and opportunities in a party that by and large no longer resembles them.
Though Ms Cheney’s defeat marked a pattern of Trump rivals losing their races in 2022, the former president’s work to purge the GOP of his enemies was not without its own setbacks; in two key races in Georgia, where Mr Trump and his legal team sought to overturn the valid results of the 2020 election, the former president saw two Republican who had opposed those efforts, Gov Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, re-elected against his endorsement.
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