House GOP Conference Chair Liz Cheney (R-WY) defended her decision to support the House’s impeachment of President Trump during his final days in office. Deemed a “vote of conscience” by the Wyoming Republican and highest-ranking GOP woman in the lower chamber, Cheney received backlash from a group of party colleagues. Still, Cheney defended her “obligation to the Constitution” as a member of Congress.
“What we’ve watched over the last few weeks certainly tells us how fragile our system is,” Cheney said on America’s Newsroom on Thursday morning. “All of us have an obligation to the Constitution, an obligation to do what we believe is right, what our oath compels us to do, that is above politics and above partisanship...It’s incumbent on all of us. We came to different decisions within our conference about that issue.”
As calls for Cheney to step back from GOP leadership in the House mount, the number-three ranking Republican said that disagreement and discussion “on a wide range of issues” is typical, but encouraged the conference to come together to fight against the radical policies that are inevitably ahead under the Biden administration.
“I think we’re going to have these discussions inside the conference. We have differences of opinion on a whole range of issues including this one. I anticipate that and am confident that we will be united as a conference going forward. We recognize how important it is that we are standing up and fighting against the policies of the Biden administration. The policies that we know are going to be very damaging to the country. We’re looking at tax increases, removal of protections for the unborn, removal of protection for the second amendment. We’ve got a lot of things that we have to come together on as a party and as a country,” she concluded.
Even in light of calls for her to resign from leadership, more than a few Republicans in both chambers actively defended Cheney, including House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy and her counterpart in the Senate, John Barrasso.
Wyoming Sen. Barrasso, No. 3 Senate Republican, defends Cheney— Burgess Everett (@burgessev) January 21, 2021
“Liz Cheney has been and continues to be a highly effective and valuable member of our Wyoming delegation... her strong voice and leadership will matter this next four years more than ever.”
She was recently censured by Carbon County's GOP, which Cheney, Senator Lummis (R-WY), and President Trump won by overwhelming margins; the county cast less than 7,000 votes in the 2020 general election. While members of the Freedom Caucus call on her to step down, Cheney officially received a primary challenger at home as of Wednesday. Wyoming State Senator Anthony Bouchard (R) launched his bid against the number-three House Republican on Wednesday, citing Cheney’s “longtime opposition to President Trump.” Despite this claim, her “longtime opposition” to the former president is not reflected in her voting record; Cheney voted with President Trump 92 percent of the time during his term in office, per FiveThirtyEight.
Bouchard deemed Cheney “out of touch,” but the primary challenger seemingly supports lawmakers who embrace QAnon conspiracy theories, and voiced support for pardoning Edward Snowden.
Liz Cheney's primary challenger looks up to the QAnon congresswoman as a role model: pic.twitter.com/kXTfvUfssN— John McCormack (@McCormackJohn) January 20, 2021
Liz Cheney's primary challenger upset she didn't support a pardon for Snowden: pic.twitter.com/uPY9KUpnIk— John McCormack (@McCormackJohn) January 20, 2021
Throughout the impeachment debacle, Cheney maintained that the issue was a "vote of conscience" and encouraged members of the conference to do what they thought was right. In response to calls for her resignation from leadership, the number-three House Republican said that she is "not going anywhere."