- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 13, 2021

Carly Fiorina, a 2016 GOP presidential candidate, said Thursday Rep. Liz Cheney’s ouster from House Republican leadership is only going to bolster her message that the party must distance itself from former President Donald Trump and his stolen election lies.

“Liz Cheney may have lost her position in leadership, but she hasn’t lost her platform to speak. In fact, her platform to speak, I would say, is larger than ever,” Ms. Fiorina said during a Washington Post LIVE interview.

The former Hewlett Packard CEO clashed with Mr. Trump during the 2016 GOP presidential primary and has since been a vocal critic of what she sees as his corruptive influence on the party.

Ms. Fiorina said the GOP’s ties to Mr. Trump could help them win back the House in the midterm election next year, but has tarnished the party’s image over the long haul.

“These elected officials have decided that in order to win back the majority in 2022 … that they are prepared to throw out facts, truth, constitutional principles, the rule of law and continue in their slavish devotion to Donald Trump,” Ms. Fiorina said. “It is a very sad commentary.”

Ms. Cheney was ousted as House GOP conference chair this week after she refused to dial down her criticism of Mr. Trump and his insistence that voter fraud and corrupt officials fueled President Biden’s victory.

Polls have shown a majority of Republicans say the election was invalid.

Ms. Fiorina is not one of them.

She was so turned off by Mr. Trump’s influence on her party that she voted for Mr. Biden in the 2020 election, and called on Republicans to remove Mr. Trump from the party for fomenting the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Ms. Fiorina said it is mind-boggling that some Republicans refuse to call the storming of the Capitol an “insurrection” and said it underscores Mr. Trump’s negative influence.

“We must have both political parties accept the legitimacy of elections — especially when those elections have been described as free and fair and legitimate by observers on both sides,” she said. “If we cannot accept the legitimacy of elections, then we cannot have a peaceful transfer of power. We do not accept the legitimacy of those that were elected, [then] we don’t accept that elections have consequences, and therefore we cannot have a debate about how to achieve our constitutional principles and ideals.”

Ms. Fiorina has been a familiar face in conservative circles. 

For years, she was a featured speaker at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, and she served as chair of the ACU Foundation.

Her star burnt bright enough that Sen. Ted Cruz announced she would serve as his running mate in the 2016 nomination as part of a last-ditch effort to derail Mr. Trump, whom the Texas Republican described as a “pathological liar” and “narcissist.” 

Mr. Cruz has since become a vocal Trump ally. He joined Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri in leading the failed objection in the Senate to the certification of votes in the 2020 election.

“We have exchanged texts,” Ms. Fiorina said when asked about her relationship with Mr. Cruz. 

“He was not happy that I said I was disappointed with him along with a lot of other Republicans,” she said. “I continue to wish him and his family well, but I supported him because I did not want Donald Trump to be the nominee of our party, because I believe he is corrupt and corrupting.” 

“I disagree strenuously with the path that Ted Cruz and others have taken,” Ms. Fiorina said.

• Seth McLaughlin can be reached at smclaughlin@washingtontimes.com.

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