- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 24, 2022

PONTE VEDRA, Fla. — Rep. Liz Cheney is a no-show at this year’s annual House Republican retreat.

Republican staffers said Ms. Cheney neither responded to an RSVP nor showed up Thursday. 

Instead, Ms. Cheney delivered virtual remarks to an event at Chatham University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Her colleagues, who gathered to set their political agenda, didn’t bemoan her absence. Ms. Cheney does not attend weekly Republican conference meetings or party task force sessions. 

She was in Jackson, Wyoming, taking questions and giving remarks about U.S. elections on a panel at the Center Theater on Tuesday night and remained in her home state Wednesday. 

Ms. Cheney’s absence at the retreat is the latest sign of her estrangement from the party after she became a fervent detractor of former President Donald Trump, who remains the party’s leader for most Republicans.

She was ousted from the House Republican leadership team and was censured and disavowed as a Republican by the Wyoming Republican Party. She faces a tough reelection fight this year and has scores of House Republican colleagues financing her primary opponent.

She rarely shows up for Republican Party functions in Washington or Wyoming.

“I guess you can say she’s a Republican in name only,” said Rep. Jim Banks of Indiana, who was at the retreat.

Ms. Cheney, as conference chair, told reporters at last year’s retreat in Orlando that Mr. Trump was no longer the leader of the party. That created a rift with other Republican lawmakers and officials.

Months later, House Republicans voted her out as conference chair. Her state party voted last year to censure her for her vote to impeach Mr. Trump on a charge of inciting the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol. The Wyoming Republican Party later voted, by a narrow margin, to not recognize her as a Republican.

Ms. Cheney moved further from her party after she accepted an appointment from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, to be one of two Republicans on the Democratic-dominated House select committee investigating the Capitol riot.

The other Republican lawmaker is Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, who voted to impeach Mr. Trump and recently said he wished he had voted in favor of Mr. Trump’s first impeachment in 2017.

The panel of seven Democrats and two Republicans has focused on subpoenaing information from Republican lawmakers, their allies and former Trump White House officials that could lead to “criminal penalties” against Mr. Trump, Ms. Cheney said recently on NBC’s “Meet The Press.”

The Wyoming Republican is seeking a fourth term and faces a primary in which her strongest opponent, lawyer Harriet Hageman, has been endorsed by Mr. Trump and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, California Republican.

The Republican National Committee voted this year to formally censure Ms. Cheney and Mr. Kinzinger for their involvement on the Jan. 6 investigative panel.

Ms. Cheney leads Ms. Hageman in campaign fundraising, but more than 100 House Republicans, about half of the Republican conference, have followed Mr. McCarthy’s lead and signed on to host a fundraiser for Ms. Hageman.

The Washington Times has reached out to Ms. Cheney’s office and campaign for comment.

Correction: A previous version of this article mischaracterized Rep. Liz Cheney’s remarks in Pittsburgh. She appeared at the event virtually.

• Kerry Picket can be reached at kpicket@washingtontimes.com.

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