House Republicans on Wednesday officially voted to oust Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyoming) from her leadership position after she continued to openly condemn both Donald Trump’s lie that he won the 2020 election and his actions leading up to the January 6 Capitol insurrection.
Cheney’s removal as GOP conference chair, a position that made her the No. 3 Republican in the House, comes as a pivotal moment for the party, as it further cements Trump’s grip despite losing to Joe Biden by 7 million popular votes.
The voice vote on Wednesday is the second effort to strip Cheney of her leadership post after she voted to impeach Trump on charges that he directly incited the violence that took place at the Capitol. Cheney, who was among just 10 House Republicans to support impeachment, ultimately survived that first secret ballot vote in February. But months later, with the GOP abandoning much of its initial denunciations of Trump’s role leading up to the insurrection in favor of a full embrace of his lies, Cheney’s outspoken stance against Trump was apparently no longer tolerable.
“I will not sit back and watch in silence while others lead our party down a path that abandons the rule of law and joins the president’s crusade to undermine our democracy,” Cheney said in a fiery speech on the House floor late on Tuesday.
It was an extraordinary last stand for the fiercely conservative Republican. But as David Corn wrote last week, it shouldn’t be lost on anyone that Cheney and her father laid the groundwork for lying to the American public—both about the Iraq War and Barack Obama’s citizenship:
The fight to protect American democracy needs as many enlistees as can be mustered, on the left, in the middle, and on the right.
Still, Liz Cheney deserves hardly a cheer, for it ought to be remembered that Trump is pushing his Big Lie in the wake of other big lies—and that Cheney, her father, and so many other Republicans not so long ago did much to blaze the path for the dangerous political villainy she now decries.
As for Cheney’s replacement, my colleague Tim Murphy has a great look at New York Rep. Elise Stefanik’s well-played long game.