n the evening of Jan. 6, 2021, Rep. Liz Cheney had an encounter with Clio, the muse of history. Congress was just about to resume to affirm Joe Biden’s triumph after being disrupted by a riot that ricocheted around the world. The Wyoming lawmaker stepped into Statuary Hall, where officers in tactical gear were leaning against the marble figures of great American men and women, tired from hours battling their countrymen.
It was a somber occasion for the scion of one of America’s most influential Republican families. Perhaps it was no mistake that she had dressed completely in black that day. Only a few generations in American history, President John Kennedy once noted, had been “granted the task of protecting freedom in its hour of extreme danger.”
We Face a Challenge.
“Today, that responsibility is ours, as we face a challenge we have never faced before: a former president attempting to destroy our constitutional republic,” Representative Cheney would later add. “The question for every one of us is, at this time of testing will we perform our duty?”
The No. 3 Republican then went back onto the House floor and was among a minority of her party who did not object to the Electoral College count in two battleground states. A week later, she was one of just 10 in her party to vote to impeach President Donald Trump, alleging he “summoned this crowd, organized the mob, and lighted the flame.” Within months, she lost her leadership role.
Now, she is vice-chair of a Democratic-led committee probing the attack on the U.S. Capitol, which will host the first of a series of highly anticipated hearings on Thursday evening. Above the entrance, Clio watched over them. She rests atop a clock fashioned by an octogenarian clockmaker from Roxbury, Massachusetts, where 15 of the earliest Cheneys who arrived in America are buried.
William Cheney arrived in 1640 as part of the flood of Puritans fleeing religious persecution.
Two centuries later, Samuel Fletcher Cheney battled to save the Union. And now here was Elizabeth Lynne Cheney, chairwoman of the House Republican Caucus, on the threshold of a period of divisiveness unprecedented since the Civil War. To Ms. Cheney, Jan. 6 marks an existential war for the American republic – one for which she is willing to lose her political career.
Supporters praise her as a rare example of courage in an age of polarization, one of the few Republicans of national importance willing to confront former President Trump and call out her party for enabling his lies. Indeed, it was at the John F. Kennedy Profiles in Courage celebration, where she was one of the five recipients, that she presented her insights on history and duty.
Fixation on President Trump.
Critics, on the other hand, argue that her fixation on President Trump has aided a political inquiry. Additionally, her voters say she has failed to stand up to Vice President Biden’s policies that harm Wyoming’s farms, ranches, and oil wells. For those who are eagerly awaiting the Jan. 6 report, Cheney will be the primary focus of attention, both in terms of what the committee has learned thus far, and how she will be remembered.
During the same time, her Republican opponent has traveled 23,000 miles across Wyoming’s wide plains and mountain ranges in order to engage with potential voters.
During a rally in Casper, Wyoming, last month, Mr. Trump slammed Ms. Cheney for doing the bidding of “corrupt” Democrats and urged voters to instead support Harriet Hageman, an attorney who has spent her career fighting federal bureaucrats. One of the most important tests of President Obama’s ability to influence Republican voters will take place in this election.
California Gold Fields.
Cale Case, a Republican state senator from Lander, says he believes this is a “watershed” election. “We’re well aware that the entire country is watching us.” One of Wyoming’s best vistas. Casper has already found itself in a similar position. In the 1800s, thousands of people crossed the North Platte River on their way to the Oregon or California gold fields. When Ms. Cheney’s great-grandmothers came to this area, they came via five separate routes, including the Mormon Trail.
Buffalo Bill Cody altered the image of cowboys from social misfits to romantic symbols of strength and daring as homesteaders hewed huts from trees. As a result, the people of Wyoming, particularly those who voted for Donald Trump, are discussing who they want to represent in Congress and how independent they want to be.
Having grown up on a ranch, Ms. Hageman has earned a reputation for standing up for Wyoming’s farmers and ranchers as a fourth-generation Wyomingite and daughter of a longstanding senator. During the Trump event, Ms. Hageman told the crowd, “I know Wyoming, I love Wyoming, I am Wyoming.” You have my word that I will never turn my back on the organization that employed you.
She added, “As soon as I defeat Liz Cheney… “before the crowd’s roars drowned out her words.
When Dick Cheney was growing up in Casper, Wyoming, he would go hunting on the prairie and pack a lunch of fried rabbit for the next day. As secretary of defense under George H.W. Bush, Mr. Cheney was the youngest White House chief of staff in history, and he served as Wyoming’s only representative in the House of Representatives for 10 years.
Because of his role in planning the second Bush administration’s invasion of Iraq, many people still consider him to be the most significant vice president in history.
It’s not far from a soda fountain and a movie theater with a vertical neon AMERICA sign that the local high school’s football field bears his name.
Her father’s older daughter Liz has had a difficult time convincing voters that she is a true Wyomingite. She was born and raised in the Washington, D.C., area and moved to Wyoming with her husband in 2012 before running for the U.S. Senate against Republican Mike Enzi. Rather than settling for the ranches, bungalows, and rusted trailers that dot the rest of the state, they settled on a resort town at the foot of the Grand Tetons called Jackson Hole. She and her family’s presence in the state is a well-guarded secret in this tightly knit community.
Tim Stubson, a former state legislator who ran against Cheney in the Republican primary in 2016 and had referred to her as a “carpetbagger,” has been impressed by Cheney’s performance since her victory. Wyoming’s Republican Party ties allowed her to enter the House of Representatives on Day One, which she did, according to Mr. Stubson. Two months after entering office, she led the charge to repeal an Obama-era regulation restricting public land use, a pressing problem in her home state of Wyoming and stood with President Trump as he signed the bill into law.
Law Office in Casper.
In an interview at his law office in Casper, he said, “She has been a super-effective lawmaker.” When it comes to voting with Trump, Ms. Cheney is one of the most extreme members of the House GOP caucus, having voted with him more than 90% of the time throughout her first two terms. However, some Wyoming constituents think her concentration on Jan. 6 has weakened her lobbying for the state’s interests, including a bill to challenge the Biden freeze on oil and gas leasing
When Dick Cheney’s first congressional campaign in the late 1970s, Jack Mueller, a county co-chair for the family’s longtime friend, was running, he said, “She lost the ability to fight for Wyoming. A few days after the Laramie County Republican Party censured her on Jan. 6, Cheney called Mr. Mueller, who backed the censure and says he received a phone call from her. “This entire Jan. 6 thing—been she’s milking that like wild,” says Mr. Mueller. “I accused her and Nancy Pelosi of forming a conspiracy.”
He maintains that he has no idea what she’s trying to accomplish. Since then, they haven’t spoken to each other. Although she has alienated some members of her own party, she has been praised by the left as a result of her position. Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland, a constitutional lawyer who has worked closely with her on the House Judiciary Committee’s Jan. 6 subcommittee, adds, “I consider her a person of great decency and character.” “She’s a survivor and a fighter.”
Her Critics Have a Different Perspective.
As far as I’m concerned, Liz Cheney, Adam Kinzinger, Mitt Romney, and the other Republicans who have stood up to Donald Trump are constitutional patriots,” he says. One Trump rally attendee questioned: If Ms. Cheney is so dedicated to the Constitution, why isn’t she fighting for justice for the folks who were detained on Jan. 6 for what they saw to be nothing more than taking photos in the Capitol?
Republican National Committee scolded Cheney and Kinzinger for participating in a Democratic-led committee that ignored minority rights, conventional checks and balances, and due process, among other things when it took the unusual step of censuring them. The phrase “Hang Mike Pence” means absolutely nothing. On Jan. 6, Cheney and her detractors disagree over what transpired and how serious a threat is constituted, which is at the heart of these differing views.
Former President Trump had asked his followers to march to the Capitol, where Vice President Mike Pence was monitoring Congress’s tallying of the Electoral College ballots, on that day at his “Save America” rally. He had dubbed the election “the most corrupt in history.” It’s time for Mike Pence to “come through for us,” he urged them, asking the vice president to back Republican challenges to some state ballots.
At the end of the rally, Trump supporters marched down Pennsylvania Avenue, the same route used by Ms. Cheney’s great-great-grandfather to commemorate the end of the American Civil War 150 years earlier. In the Capitol, rioters screamed, “Hang Mike Pence!” as they smashed windows and doors to gain entry, clashing with police officers.
At least one gunshot could be heard as a police officer opened fire on an unarmed veteran who was trying to crawl through the cracked glass of a door to the lobby outside the House entrance, which was barricaded by furniture. The attack also claimed the lives of another two demonstrators. After hours of what a bipartisan Senate committee called “extremely horrific” physical violence, 114 Capitol Police officers and several dozen Metro D.C. officers were hurt that day. A total of five people have died, four of them by suicide.
Some MPs admit that they may have felt more threatened than those observing from the outside that day. Many conservatives, however, believe that Ms. Cheney is complicit in the left’s political dramatization of the events of January 6th. Marti Halverson, one of Wyoming’s three 2020 electors, was texting with friends who had traveled to Washington to attend President Trump’s rally as it unfolded on television.
the Capitol Police overreacted.
According to her, “I don’t think the Capitol Police overreacted.” When the Capitol is the House of the People, how could it be breached? She had no idea, she thought. A former state senator, she claims she has gotten some of the most heinous threats in her inbox, but she regards them as standard for every politician these days. “‘Hang Mike Pence’ is nothing,” says Mrs. Halverson, adding that she doesn’t believe the protesters meant it.
Some Wyoming Democrats, who can change their party registration on the day of the vote, have been inspired to vote in the Republican primary because of Cheney’s attitude. Many of us were convinced by that,” says Sarah Konrad, who oversees a federal grant program that supports scientific research at the University of Wyoming in Laramie and plans to register as a Republican for the first time in order to support Ms. Cheney.
Also, some of the conservatives were once “vocal Trump supporters,” such as Helen Higby, who says Cheney changed her mind after the 2020 election. Congresswoman Higby says she admires the congresswoman for her bravery and willingness to jeopardize her political career by engaging in a swordfight with him. As a rule of thumb, “don’t just give up when things become tough.”
Ambition or Courage?
However, where some see integrity and courage, others see egotism and willfulness. When Liz sets her mind to anything, she doesn’t give up easily. Rep. Barbara Cubin, the first woman to represent Wyoming in Congress, endorsed Ms. Hageman shortly after her announcement, a move that was difficult for her because she had “warm feelings” for the Cheneys. “She is never wrong – never,” said Rep. Barbara Cubin.
Outside the Trump event in Casper, Monte Hartman said, “I think she has bigger political goals.” However, it’s not clear what their goals are. Many speculate that she’s planning to run for president in 2024. The chances of either party nominating her are slim, though, as she has already sullied her relationship with the Republican Party and remains much too conservative for most Democrats.
Even while she may have made political calculations, “I genuinely thought she did it out of a sense of principle,” Dino Wenino, who is registered as a Republican in order to have some power in elections here, tells the New York Times. In the Republican Party, she had been “flying high,” but now she’s “almost a pariah.”
Many people are offended by her choice to co-chair the committee looking into Trump’s role in the events of that day in a state where 7 out of 10 voters supported him.
When she cast her vote to impeach, “I could give her all the credit in the world,” says Wyoming elector Mrs. Halverson, but she adds that her congresswoman’s subsequent acts reflect “seeming contempt.”
Her main point is Ms. Cheney’s admission to The New York Times that she’s “not going to convince the extremists” after she skipped a GOP banquet in Rock Springs earlier this year to attend the Wyoming Press Association’s annual gathering. According to a Cheney spokesperson, the remark alluded to the state party’s leadership. It has been suggested in a recent expose of GOP Chair Frank Eathorne that he is a purist politician bordering on extremism, who has led not only the state party’s but also the Republican National Committee’s censure resolution against Cheney.
But some interpreted Cheney’s “crazies” remark as a euphemism for Hillary Clinton’s “deplorable” label for Trump supporters. As Mrs. Halverson, sporting a Hageman for Wyoming button, observes in her hotel lobby the afternoon before the Trump event, “all she has done since January 6 is dig herself further and deeper into a hole,” she says. “And I’m heartbroken,” I respond. The next day, she returned to the stage to sing the praises of President Trump and stir the crowd in support of Ms. Hageman’s candidacy.
“The Most Significant Election”
Liz Cheney, the daughter of a past vice president and vice-chair of the Jan. 6 committee, is one of the few Republicans to speak out against President Trump. Cheney’s candidacy has a lot at stake for both her and the Republican Party’s relationship with President Trump. “Wyoming, all of America is counting on you,” Mr. Trump said to the audience of around 8,000 in Casper. Several elections are scheduled in the near future.
This election, I believe, is the most significant that we will ever have. Supporters of Cheney believe the same thing. According to Republican Pete Scott, who has watched the Trump “takeover” of the Republican Party in dismay, “If she’s reelected…is she’s a far more powerful position to offer a counterweight to Trump,” he adds. This is bad news because she’s the only national Republican who’s prepared to stand up to Trump.
There is a general consensus that the momentum is with Ms. Hageman, but no one has written out Ms. Cheney. Many Democrats, including Ms. Konrad, have shown interest in voting in the Republican primary, and it remains to be seen whether or not they will do so in large numbers. Democrats attempted to influence the Republican gubernatorial primary in 2018 with a last-minute effort.
New Republican Registrations.
New Republican registrations in 2018 totaled more than 11,000, with nearly 3,000 previously registered as independents and about 2,400 previously registered as Democrats.
Despite this, some insiders believe it’s becoming more and more improbable that Ms. Cheney will be able to recoup the Republican votes she’s alienated by her constant attacks on Mr. Trump.
There is a large part of me that wants Liz to stop. I want her to win, and I don’t want her to keep prodding the bear. “We’ve run out of time.” Most people agree that she carefully considered the ramifications of publicly opposing Trump’s presidency, including the impact on her future political influence.
For many Republicans who aren’t thrilled with Donald Trump, it’s easy to argue that it’s preferable for them not to speak out and risk losing the power that they currently have. “The vast majority of people never reach that point where they’re willing to say, ‘Okay, I’m going to jump off this political cliff because of principle,” says Mr. Stubson. Even among the 10 members of the House of Representatives who voted to impeach her, Cheney is the only one to do so. According to Mr. Stubson, “Liz was in the rare position that she couldn’t be pushed to the side, even if she got kicked out of leadership.”