In a series of Sunday television appearances, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), the recently ousted GOP House leadership chair who’s been highly critical of former President Donald Trump, lashed out at party leadership for perpetuating the former president’s claims that the 2020 election was stolen and went as far as to say that some Republican votes in Congress were swayed by threats on their lives.
Speaking to ABC’s This Week on Sunday morning about House Republicans’ overwhelming Wednesday vote to oust her from the role of House GOP conference chair, Cheney said she knows lawmakers “expressed concern about their own security” that ultimately swayed their decision on the matter.
Though she didn’t specify where the threats were coming from, or which lawmakers have expressed the concerns, Cheney made the claim after discussing social media and went on to say: “We now live in a country where members’ votes are affected because they’re worried about their security; they’re worried about threats on their lives.”
In a same-day appearance on Fox News Sunday, Cheney said House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and newly elected House GOP Conference Chair Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) have been complicit in perpetuating and embracing Trump’s “big lie” that the 2020 was stolen, saying Republicans won’t win back the House, Senate and White House if that continues.
Cheney also said she’s “very concerned” that Republicans have lost the popular vote in five of the past six presidential elections, adding that the GOP and Democrats should both “stop incentivizing unserious behavior among our elected officials” in order to garner social media attention.
Cheney doubled-down on recent calls for a House commision to investigate Trump’s actions during the Capitol insurrection on January 6, saying she wants McCarthy to testify before the House, Federal Bureau of Investigation or Department of Justice because “he clearly has facts about that day” that could help ensure another attack “never happens again.”
On NBC News’ Meet the Press, Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), one of Cheney’s few defenders, said he would “love to move on” from the former president but also said that shouldn’t be an option when he’s still viewed as the “leader of the Republican party.”
“If you continue to reject the rulings of the courts—if you work against the rulings of our courts—then you really aren’t for the Constitution, and [Trump] is a continuing danger to our system,” Cheney told Fox News on Sunday. “Those millions of people… who supported the [former] president have been misled, they’ve been betrayed, and certainly as we see his continued action to attack our democracy, his continued refusal to accept the results of the last election, you will see that ongoing danger.”
What To Watch For
Congressional leaders have agreed on the creation of a bipartisan commission to investigate the U.S. Capitol riots, and the proposal is expected to be considered in the House as soon as next week.
Cheney’s ouster from the third most-powerful House GOP position comes as Republicans grapple with growing tensions between the party’s vocal Trump-supporting arm and those who are looking to distance themselves from the former president. Cheney was one of only 10 Republicans who voted to impeach Trump in his second impeachment trial earlier this year, and though she’s faced immense backlash for it, McCarthy is among Republicans insisting that Cheney’s vote had nothing to do with her ouster. That tension is only likely to intensify as the House moves on the proposed commission to investigate the Capitol riots. Cheney insists McCarthy should testify before such a commission, pointing to McCarthy’s January 6 phone call with Trump and conversations the party leader has had about the ordeal with other lawmakers since, but McCarthy last week said he hasn’t signed off on the bill.