Rep. Liz Cheney on Tuesday delivered a defiant speech on the House floor in which she proclaimed it her duty to defend American democracy against the threat posed by former President Trump.
In a blistering denunciation of Mr. Trump and his claims that the 2020 election were stolen from him, Ms. Cheney dug into the anti-Trump stance that she’s held since the Jan. 6 Capitol riot — the same stance that likely will cost her the No. 3 leadership post when the House GOP vote Wednesday on her fate.
“Today we face a threat America has never seen before. A former president, who provoked a violent attack on this Capitol in an effort to steal the election, has resumed his aggressive effort to convince Americans that the election was stolen from him. He risks inciting further violence,” Ms. Cheney said.
She said Mr. Trump, who refused to accept the election outcome and the rejection of his ballot fraud claims by more than 60 courts, was undermining democracy and the Constitution.
“Those who refuse to accept the rulings of our courts are at war with the Constitution,” said Ms. Cheney, the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney and a rising star in the GOP until she crossed Mr. Trump.
“Our duty is clear. Every one of us who has sworn the oath must act to prevent the unraveling of our democracy. This is not about policy. This is not about partisanship. This is about our duty as Americans. Remaining silent, and ignoring the lie, emboldens the liar,” she said.
“I will not participate in that. I will not sit back and watch in silence while others lead our party down a path that abandons the rule of law and joins the former president’s crusade to undermine our democracy,” she said.
Ms. Cheney has been under fire from pro-Trump Republicans in Congress and in her home state Wyoming since she voted to impeach Mr. Trump for the Jan. 6 riot.
Soon after the impeachment vote, Ms. Cheney survived a vote House GOP members to oust her as the Republican Conference chair.
The conference will vote again Wednesday. This time she is expected to be stripped of her leadership position. She has lost the support of Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and other members of the leadership team after continuing to denounce Mr. Trump at every opportunity.
Barring any surprise, the House GOP could vote separately as early as Friday to name Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York as Ms. Cheney’s replacement as conference chair.
With the speech, Ms. Cheney cemented her role as the face of the Republican establishment that seeks to turn the page from the Trump era.
She described her fight against Mr. Trump and her fellow Republicans as a fight to preserve democracy and restore the party’s conservative principles.
“As the party of Reagan, Republicans championed democracy, won the Cold War, and defeated the Soviet Communists. As we speak, America is on the cusp of another Cold War — this time with communist China,” she said. “Attacks against our democratic process and the rule of law empower our adversaries and feed Communist propaganda that American democracy is a failure. We must speak the truth. Our election was not stolen, and America has not failed.”
“I received a message last week from a Gold Star father who said, “Standing up for the truth honors all who gave all.” We must all strive to be worthy of the sacrifice of those who have died for our freedom. They are the patriots Katherine Lee Bates described in the words of America the Beautiful: ‘Oh beautiful for heroes proved in liberating strife, who more than self their country loved and mercy more than life.’
“Ultimately, this is at the heart of what our oath requires — that we love our country more. That we love her so much we will stand above politics to defend her. That we will do everything in our power to protect our Constitution and our freedom — paid for by the blood of so many.
“We must love her so much we will never yield in her defense,” she said. “That is our duty.”