House Rep. Liz Cheney, the lame-duck Wyoming Republican and longtime anti-Trumper, said this weekend that she’ll leave the Republican Party if it nominates Donald Trump a second time.
“I’m going to do everything I can to make sure he is not the nominee,” Cheney said at the Texas Tribune Festival on Saturday. “And if he is the nominee, I won’t be a Republican.” She pledged to oppose Kari Lake, her party’s Trump-backed, election-denying contender to govern Arizona—even if it meant campaigning for a Democrat.
Still, Cheney’s attitude toward the Democratic Party is at best lukewarm. She didn’t concede that she wanted Democrats to keep control of the House after the midterms, and criticized the Biden administration’s “bad policies.” As my colleague Tim Murphy has pointed out, Cheney spent years demonizing Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, and endorsed Trump before his movement ousted her: “By the time she decided that orange man, in fact, bad, the damage had long since been done.”
“Donald Trump is the only president in American history who refused to guarantee a peaceful transition of power,” Cheney said Saturday. That the GOP “has refused in the months since then to stand up to him,” she continued, “does tell you how sick the party is.”
After being ousted from House Republican leadership, losing her primary to a self-styled witch who relishes environmental destruction, and hearing that the Wyoming GOP no longer calls her a Republican anyway, Cheney is locked in an identity crisis, unable to shake the shackles of her party affiliation. Given what she’s been through, another Trump primary win seems like an arbitrary line in the sand.