When Rep. Liz Cheney “fist-bumped” President Joe Biden as he entered the House of Representatives chamber for his first address to a joint session of Congress in May, it exemplified everything that has gone wrong with her in the last couple of years. Some members of Congress angle to be standing along the center aisle when a president walks by because it guarantees television time and a chance to be seen as chummy with the most powerful person in the world. For Wyomingites, the moment captured everything we’ve come to know about Ms. Cheney.
By now, everyone knows that the Wyoming Republican Party censured Ms. Cheney in February, largely based on her vote to impeach President Donald Trump. The damning resolution passed overwhelmingly and excoriated Cheney for turning her back on the voters of our state, who had twice voted for Mr. Trump by massive majorities (Mr. Trump received over 68 percent of the Wyoming vote in 2016 and nearly 70 percent in 2020).
In voting against Mr. Trump, she denied the president of the United States the due process that even the lowliest defendants in local courtrooms are afforded. As the censure resolution noted, Ms. Cheney sided with Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Democrats even though the sham impeachment “followed no known hearing process, provided no evidence to consider, called no witnesses to be sworn, and allowed none of the accusers to be questioned by the accused.”
But Ms. Cheney’s betrayal began long before that.
Mr. Biden’s botched withdrawal from Afghanistan should not obscure the fact that bringing American troops home after twenty years of war was supported by nearly everyone. Nearly everyone, that is, except Ms. Cheney. She co-authored an amendment to a defense bill with Democrat Jason Crow of Colorado that put conditions on Trump’s drawdown of troops while he was still in office. Ms. Cheney also opposed Mr. Trump’s planned withdrawal of American troops from Germany.
Mr. Trump rightly accused Ms. Cheney of defending “ridiculous and costly endless wars.”
This was all in the same time period when Ms. Cheney criticized Mr. Trump for his response to the New York Times report that alleged that Russia had paid bounties to Afghan militants who attacked American troops. We now know that the Times story, based on anonymous sourcing, was most likely false, as even the Biden administration says they have “low to moderate” confidence that it was true.
But Ms. Cheney’s first instinct was to oppose Mr. Trump, rather than considering what her constituents back home cared about.
Ms. Cheney was heralded as a heroine by many in the corporate news media because they had Trump as a common enemy. The outsized amount of airtime she received was wielded as a weapon by the press and became part of their arsenal in their relentless pursuit of defeating Mr. Trump in 2020. She became a tool for those who wanted Mr. Trump out of the White House, and in this way, she enabled the Biden administration to become a reality.
With Mr. Biden in the White House, leftists have been free to attack the job-producing energy industries that Wyoming depends upon so much. Shortly after taking office, Mr. Biden signed an executive order halting oil and gas drilling on federal lands, which impacts our state more than just about anyone else.
Wyoming’s federal lands are the source of more than half of our state’s oil and a whopping 92 percent of our natural gas. The industries are enormous job creators and significant sources of tax revenue for state and local governments, which use a big portion to fund K-12 and higher education.
Further, the United States had achieved energy independence under Mr. Trump, an accomplishment which Mr. Biden has quickly undone, as evidenced by his pathetic plea for more oil production from OPEC to help control runaway gasoline prices.
Ms. Cheney cared more about her personal war on Mr. Trump than she did about what the devastating and lasting effects of a Biden presidency would be on Wyoming and the nation.
Assuming she still plans to run for re-election in 2022, Ms. Cheney is sure to tout her plum committee assignments in the House as a reason for voters to rehire her. This argument should be laughed off the first time she presents it.
She has already been stripped of her leadership position in the House Republican conference and can count few friends among senior GOP officials. It is exceedingly unlikely that she would again get the pick of any choice committee assignments in the next Congress.
Ms. Cheney said this spring that she regrets voting for Trump in 2020. Funny because most Wyomingites feel the same way about her.
• John Bear is a member of the Wyoming House of Representatives from the 31st District (Campbell County).