US Representative Liz Cheney vowed Sunday to oppose Republican candidates who endorse former US President Donald Trump’s falsehoods about the stolen 2020 election and declared Senators Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley “unfit.” for office after they voted to overturn the presidential results.
Cheney, who is Trump’s top critic and vice chairman of the congressional committee investigating the January 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol by his supporters, told ABC’s “This Week” that a wide election denial movement could undermine the US constitutional order if left unchecked.
The daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney has already said she will spend the next two years trying to prevent Trump from returning to the White House in 2024, possibly with his own presidential bid. She refused to tell ABC whether he would run in or out of the GOP, should he decide to run for president.
“I’m going to be very focused on working to make sure we do everything we can to not elect election deniers,” Cheney said in an interview taped last week, days after he lost his Republican primary race to a candidate backed by Trump.
“We have election deniers who have been nominated for really important positions all over the country. And I’m going to work against those people. I’m going to work to support their opponents.”
Cheney did not say which Republican candidates he would oppose, but acknowledged that they would include some of his fellow Republicans in the US House of Representatives.
Republicans are favorites to take control of the House but could face a bigger challenge if they win a majority in the Senate in the Nov. 8 midterm elections that will determine the balance of power in Congress for the next two years.
As one of two Republicans on the House Jan. 6 committee, Cheney has been able to draw a direct connection between the deadly melee and Trump’s repeated false claims that he won the 2020 election against President Joe Biden.
“Donald Trump is certainly the center of the threat,” Cheney said. “What he has created is a movement on some level that is post-truth.”
The Jan. 6 assault forced Congress to temporarily suspend its certification of Trump’s loss to Biden, during which Hawley, Cruz and other Republican members of Congress voted against certification of the election results.
Cheney said the actions of Hawley, Cruz and other Republican lawmakers “fundamentally threatened the constitutional order and fabric” and concluded that “both have rendered themselves unfit to hold office in the future.”
A spokesman for Cruz responded with a statement saying the senator does not want or need Cheney’s endorsement.
Hawley’s office was not immediately available for comment. Neither Cruz nor Hawley is running for re-election in November.
He also criticized Florida Governor Ron DeSantis for campaigning on behalf of election deniers, including Republican gubernatorial candidates Kari Lake of Arizona and Doug Mastriano of Pennsylvania.
“That’s something that I think people need to really pause about. You know, either you fundamentally believe and will support our constitutional structure, or you don’t,” Cheney said.
Like Trump himself, DeSantis has flirted with voters about the possibility of his own presidential bid in 2024 as he seeks re-election in Florida this year. DeSantis’ campaign was not immediately available for comment.
Cheney’s re-election defeat in Wyoming last week was widely seen as a victory for Trump’s revenge campaign against House Republicans who voted to impeach him after the Jan. 6 riots. She told ABC that she heard from Biden afterward: “We had a really good talk, a talk about the importance of putting the country ahead of partisanship.”
(Reporting by David Morgan; editing by Mary Milliken and Lisa Shumaker)