Whether by default or by design, Liz Cheney has turn into the chief of the Republican resistance.
This is probably not a cutting-edge concern outdoors the Beltway hothouse, however it’s turn into a proxy struggle for the celebration’s future.
Donald Trump has determined that the Wyoming congresswoman is the personification of what ails the GOP—most notably, her all-out opposition to Trump and Trumpism.
And, for good measure, they’re now calling one another liars.
These are two individuals who have been by no means going to be backslapping buddies. Trump ran towards Hillary Clinton in 2016, however he additionally ran towards George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, particularly on Iraq and infinite wars. So he was at all times going to view Liz, who held prime State Department posts in her father’s administration, as an excessive amount of of a international coverage hard-liner.
Liz Cheney didn’t run towards Trump when she was elected to the House in 2016, after a disastrous earlier Senate bid. But she grew to become an outspoken critic after the riot on the Capitol, and was one among 10 House Republicans to vote to question the president—all of the extra outstanding as a result of she is the third-ranking member of the GOP management.
Whether she hangs onto that publish is the melodrama of the second, giving political reporters between elections a contest to obsess over. And her new position has scrambled the same old media alliances.
The deepening divide has harm Cheney again residence, the place she faces a major subsequent yr towards two state lawmakers who’re making an attempt to enchantment to the Trump base. And from Mar-a-Lago, the previous president has slammed anybody he views as disloyal, corresponding to calling for Mitch McConnell to get replaced as Senate Republican chief. But whereas McConnell primarily ignores him and Kevin McCarthy overtly courts him, Cheney is punching again.
At the guts of this internecine warfare is how the nation will view the tragedy that unfolded on Jan. 6.
In interviews and statements, Trump continues to say he was cheated out of a second time period, regardless of the failure of his personal Justice Department and dozens of lawsuits to show any widespread fraud. The different facet, principally amongst Democrats and the media, have branded this the Big Lie.
In the most recent spherical, the forty fifth president tried to applicable that time period, emailing reporters that the final election “will be, from this day forth, known as THE BIG LIE!”
That prompted this tweet from Cheney: “The 2020 presidential election was not stolen. Anyone who claims it was is spreading THE BIG LIE, turning their back on the rule of law, and poisoning our democratic system.”
Not surprisingly, Trump issued one other assertion hours later, calling her a “big-shot warmonger” and, for good measure, insisting that Wyoming residents “never liked her much.”
CNN experiences that Cheney remained adamant at a personal American Enterprise Institute convention on Monday, saying the celebration can’t swallow the “poison” of arguing the election was rigged.
“We can’t whitewash what happened on January 6 or perpetuate Trump’s big lie. It is a threat to democracy. What he did on January 6 is a line that cannot be crossed.”
On “Fox & Friends” yesterday, McCarthy mentioned the angst over Cheney wasn’t about her impeachment vote: “I have heard from members concerned about her ability to carry out the job as conference chair, to carry out the message,” so “we can all work together instead of attacking one another.” That, in fact, was a reasonably clear message.
In a secret poll in February, House Republicans voted to maintain Cheney in her No. 3 publish by a vote of 145 to 61. That confirmed she had extra rank-and-file help than the general public battle would have urged.
But the animosity stage has risen, and if a majority of the caucus is taking Trump’s facet, they’ve the precise to say she’s the incorrect match for the management.
All this has made Cheney an unlikely heroine for the media, most of whose members facet with anybody who opposes Trump.
On CNN, Jake Tapper mentioned such Republican leaders as McCarthy and Steve Scalise are “willing to lie” about the election and different issues.
“Think of it,” tweeted L.A. Times columnist Mark Barabak. Cheney “is at risk of losing her leadership for telling the truth. And insisting on doing so. You can dress it up anyhow you’d like. But that’s the bottom line.”
For those that lined her father within the Bush administration, it’s a head-snapping second to look at the media line up behind a Cheney.