WASHINGTON (AP) — Liz Cheney’s resounding primary defeat marks the end of an era for the Republican Party and her own family legacy, the highest-profile political casualty yet as Lincoln’s party morphs into the party. of Trump.
the fall of the three-term congressmanwho has stated that his mission is to make sure that Donald Trump never returns to the Oval Office, was vividly foreshadowed earlier this year, on the first anniversary of the January 6 attack on the Capitol.
As the House gathered for a moment of silence, Cheney, who leads the investigation into the insurrection as vice chairman of committee 1/6, and his father, former Vice Chairman Dick Cheney, were almost alone on the Republican side of the House. flat.
Democratic lawmakers flocked by to shake their hands. The Republicans refused to join them.
“Liz Cheney represents the Republican Party as it used to be. … All of that is gone now,” said Geoff Kabaservice, vice president for political studies at the center-right Niskanen Center.
What comes next for liz cheney is yet to be determined.
“Now the real work begins,” he said in an election night concession speech in Wyoming, recalling the legacy of both Abraham Lincoln and his Civil War-era military and presidential successor, Ulysses Grant, in their campaign. against Trump.
Cheney could very well announce his own White House bid: He is unlikely to win the nomination from a hostile GOP, but at least he will give Trump’s opponents an alternative.
Overnight, he transferred the funds left over from the campaign to a new entity: “The Great Task.” That’s a phrase from the Gettysburg Address.
“I will do whatever it takes to keep Donald Trump out of the Oval Office,” Cheney told NBC’s “Today” show early Wednesday, adding that running for president “is something I’m thinking about and I’ll make a decision soon.” the next few months.”
Whether he runs or not, his belief that Trump poses a danger to democracy runs deep in his family.
But it is an opinion that has no place in the Republican Party today.
Trump is purging the GOP, ridding it of dissidents like Cheney and others who dare challenge him, changing the Republican landscape from coast to coast and the makeup of Congress.
Of 10 House Republicans including Cheney, who voted to impeach Trump for inciting the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection on Capitol Hill, only two remain candidates for re-election. The others have either dropped out or, like Cheney, been defeated by Trump-backed challengers.
If Republicans gain control of the House and Senate in the November elections, the new Congress is destined to be remade in Trump’s image. Yet his influence may, in fact, go two ways, reclaiming the House for Republicans but costing the party the Senate if its candidates fail to generate the broader appeal needed for statewide elections.
“It’s just a party of Donald Trump’s fever dreams,” said Mark Salter, a longtime former Republican adviser to the late Sen. John McCain.
“It’s just Donald Trump’s club.”
For 50 years, the Cheneys have had significant influence in Washington, from the moment Dick Cheney first ran for Congress after being elected vice president, to the arrival of his daughter, elected in 2016 along with the victory. of Trump at the White House.
Identified with the hardline defense wing of the Republican Party, the Cheneys under Presidents Bush represented a cornerstone of the Republican Party in the post-World War II era, when it prospered as a party of small government, low taxes, and foreign policy. vigorous.
Liz Cheney never wavered, elected by fellow House Republicans to the same seat her father held, the No. 3 House Republican, his highest-ranking woman.
But the attack on Capitol Hill on January 6, 2021, changed all that.
Cheney was unequivocal in blaming the attack on the defeated president and his false claims of voter fraud and rigged elections.
Trump “called this mob together, brought the mob together and lit the flame of this attack,” he said at the time, announcing his impeachment vote.
“There has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States to his office and his oath to the Constitution.”
House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy initially defended Cheney but quickly backed down as Republicans. kicked her out of the party leadership. When Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi named Cheney to panel 1/6, her exile was almost complete.
Trump gloated over Cheney’s defeat in the Republican primary Tuesday night, calling her “prudish” and “foolish” for suggesting that his claims of a rigged election were false.
Trump had swooped into the cowboy state to support Harriet Hageman, who was once highly critical of him but beat Cheney to embrace the former president, backed by McCarthy and other party leaders.
Cheney’s defeat follows that of the last Bush in public officeJeb’s son, George P. Bush, who was defeated in the Republican primary for Texas attorney general by Trump-backed Ken Paxton in May.
On Fox News, conservative author Charlie Kirk called Tuesday’s election a “massive repudiation” of the Bush-Cheney-McCain era.
Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York, who replaced Cheney in the House Republican leadership and endorsed Hageman, said in a statement that she was glad to see Pelosi’s “puppet” defeated.
Former Sen. Alan Simpson of Wyoming, who served in Congress alongside Dick Cheney and has known Liz Cheney since she was a child, says he can no longer recognize the party he joined, casting his first presidential vote for Dwight Eisenhower.
“What happened to our party is the fear of Donald J. Trump,” Simpson said.
Founded in the mid-19th century, the core conservative values of the Republican Party have morphed in the Trump era into a political current that is more focused on grievances at home and isolationism abroad.
Those running for Congress include many Republican incumbents who voted against certifying Joe Biden’s election, amplifying Trump’s relentless false claims of a rigged election and fueling the Jan. 6 insurrection on Capitol Hill.
And many of the new Republican congressional candidates are also denying the election, according to a tally by Democrats.
“The House is, should be, the House of the people,” said former Republican Rep. Carlos Curbelo of Florida. Instead, he said, “It’s controlled by Mr. Trump.”
Many days Cheney walks alone on Capitol Hill, flanked by plainclothes Capitol Police officers guarding her amid an onslaught of violent threats.
His mission to deny Trump a return to the presidency can be seen on his daily agenda, devoting much of his time to the 1/6 committee to deepen and complete its work.
His Wyoming Republican colleague Simpson said he has no doubts about what’s next for Cheney: “She’s going to ride a new set of horses and she’s going to get to the finish line.”
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