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POLITICO: 'Team Trump' to Blame for Liz Cheney's Defeat

AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

The mainstream media certainly is taking it hard that their beloved Liz Cheney lost her primary on Tuesday night, as she was very much expected to do. In fact, she did even worse than the polls showed, ultimately losing to Harriet Hageman by closer to 40 points. It's not her fault, though, according to POLITICO. Rather, that would be "Team Trump," per a headline from Alex Isentstadt. 


Early on, Isenstadt wrote about how "Team Trump" encouraging Hageman to won "illustrates Trump’s all-encompassing role in the effort to oust Cheney, which culminated Tuesday in a lopsided primary defeat for the congresswoman," which is certainly putting it politely. 

He went on to write:

It was an unusually disciplined effort by Trump’s political orbit — a far-flung, often chaotic constellation of operatives whose disorganization, fueled by Trump’s impulsiveness, has often impeded their attempts to influence campaigns. This time, the well-organized Trump forces swamped Cheney, who by the end appeared less focused on surviving her reelection fight than embracing a high-profile national role as a Trump critic.


Jeremy Adler, a Cheney spokesperson, castigated the Trump-run campaign to unseat her and said she could have won — but she felt she had to take a stand against Trump’s lies that the 2020 election was stolen.

“Liz won the 2020 Wyoming GOP primary with 73 percent of the vote and could’ve won this race easily if she did what [House Minority Leader] Kevin McCarthy and so many others have done and embraced Donald Trump’s insidious lies,” Adler said in a statement. “While those men take pride in the fact that they supported an election denier who preys on the patriotism of ordinary Americans, Liz is going to be leading a broad coalition that defends freedom, upholds the Constitution, and fights back against efforts to destroy our republic.”


That Isentstadt points out Trump's "team was looking to vanquish all 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump, but Cheney — Trump’s highest-profile GOP critic — topped the list," is true. There's much more to the story, though, including how Cheney contributed to her own loss. Most of the piece is about Trump's allies encouraging Hageman to run, and helping her with her campaign. 

It is not until the last half of the lengthy piece that Isentstadt points out:

Cheney’s absence from the campaign trail would also weaken her. Her team attributed the decision to the congresswoman’s need to be in Washington, where she was serving as vice chair of the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. The Cheney campaign also said that physical threats against the congresswoman impeded her ability to hold public campaign events, forcing her to organize more private gatherings in the state instead.


As the primary wound down, it became clear that Cheney was less focused on defeating Hageman than taking on Trump. In a June speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library — a regular stop for Republicans considering runs for the White House — she blasted the ex-president over his false 2020 election claims. And earlier this month, she ran an ad in which Dick Cheney declared that “in our 246-year-history, there has never been an individual who is a greater threat to our republic than Donald Trump.”


There's no mention of a report from The New York Times back in February, when Cheney attributed not going to events in her home state to "the crazies," saying "I’m not going to convince the crazies and I reject the crazies."

Extensive polling last month from the Casper-Star Tribune showed that voters did not approve of the soon-to-be former congresswoman serving on the January 6 select committee, in that 64 percent disapprove of her decision to serve. Fifty-four percent said it made them less likely to vote for her. When asked if "Liz Cheney's opposition to Trump affected her ability to deal with the important Wyoming issues," 61 percent said it did. 

CNN also talked to voters before the primary election who were similarly not thrilled with Cheney. 

POLITICO has written at length about Cheney these past few days. Late Wednesday night, Olivia Beavers published Cheney's concession call, as Matt highlighted earlier on Thursday. 

In Wednesday's POLITICO Playbook, it was also reported that Cheney, has formed a PAC revealed to be named the Great Task. The New York Times described it as a PAC "that would be dedicated to opposing any effort by Mr. Trump to return to the White House and to educating Americans about threats to democracy."


Cheney who has since further teased she is "thinking about" running for president in 2024, is not going away any time soon. If anything, she is only ramping up her attacks on Trump. 

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