WASHINGTON — Liz Cheney on Wednesday urged the Republican Party to get rid of Donald Trump, calling the former president a clear and current threat to both the GOP and American democracy in general.
“We have to choose because Republicans cannot be loyal to Donald Trump and the Constitution,” Cheney said during a speech at the Ronald Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California.
While denouncing Trump’s apparent encouragement of rioters who attacked the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, Cheney also rebuked unnamed Republican leaders “who have made themselves willing hostages of this dangerous and irrational man.”
Speaking to a mostly friendly crowd — the event organizers expressed concern about scammers — Cheney also told fellow Republicans they are on “the brink of an abyss” and that “we need to back off.”
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Cheney’s attacks on Trump mirrored those she has made before, including while serving on the special congressional committee investigating the January 6 insurgency.
The address about the future GOP came when Cheney was in maximum political danger. The Wyoming congressman will face a Republican primary challenge in August from Harriet Hageman, a well-funded attorney with Trump’s backing.
Hageman called Cheney’s speech ironic, saying she’s “the last person to lecture on the future of the Republican Party as she single-handedly tries to burn it to the ground.”
The incumbent “uses Wyoming’s only home seat to further her war against President Trump while helping Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats achieve their own political goals,” Hageman said in a written statement she tweeted after the speech.
In her speech – the latest installment in the Reagan Library’s “Time For Choose” speaker series – Cheney said Trump only uses the Republican Party for his benefit.
Cheney said Trump and his supporters seem willing to try and steal future elections, telling fellow Republicans that “we also face a domestic threat we’ve never seen before — a former president trying to destroy the foundations of our constitutional government.” republic to unravel.”
Cheney, one of two Republicans on the inquiry, discussed evidence of Trump’s efforts to steal the 2020 election and encourage riots over it. She described Trump’s actions as “even more horrifying and threatening than we imagined”.
At a committee hearing on Tuesday, Cheney led the questioning of Cassidy Hutchinson, a former White House aide who testified that Trump was aware that some of his supporters had guns on January 6, even as he urged them to march to the Capitol. Tthe election. to protest.
In her speech at the GOP, Cheney praised Hutchinson and described her bravery and patriotism as “great to watch.”
Cheney’s long-standing criticism of Trump — she was one of 10 House Republicans to vote to impeach him on January 6 — has cost her support within the GOP. Last year, House Republicans kicked Cheney out of her leadership position. Earlier this year, the national Republican Party reprimanded her.
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Trump — who swore revenge on impeachment supporters — has frequently attacked Cheney and her father, former Republican Vice President Dick Cheney.
At a May Wyoming meeting, Trump said that “the Cheneys are die-hard globalists and warmongers who have been plunging us into new conflicts for decades, spilling American blood and spending American treasures around the world.”
Before she indicted Trump, Cheney used her Reagan speech in the library to discuss foreign and domestic threats to the United States. She condemned Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Cheney also criticized President Joe Biden’s economic and border policies, albeit in much less harsh terms than those she reserved for Trump.
“Our freedom will only survive if we protect it,” Cheney said.
Towards the end of her comments, Cheney praised the young female leaders she met and joked about their future challenges.
Cheney said, “Nowadays, for the most part, men run the world — and things aren’t going well.”