By Billy House
May 12, 2021, 2:39 AM – Updated on May 12, 2021, 4:02 AM
Word Count: 608
On the eve of a vote by her fellow Republicans that is all but certain to remove her from a party leadership post, Cheney appeared on the House floor Tuesday night to drive home her message that those who refuse to accept the election results, affirmed by officials of both parties and the courts, “are at war with the Constitution.”
“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 efforts to convince Americans that the election was stolen from him,” Cheney said.
“I will not sit back and watch in silence,” she added. “We must speak the truth. Our election was not stolen.”
The Wednesday morning vote by Republican House members will be done by secret ballot. Cheney’s spokesman, Jeremy Adler, said in a text message that she would not step down before the vote.
Cheney, the No. 3 House Republican, has become increasingly isolated in her party for her persistent rebuttals to Trump’s false claims. House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy has said that has become a distraction for Republicans and backs replacing her as Republican conference chair with New York Representative Elise Stefanik, a Trump loyalist.
“I will not sit back and watch in silence,” @RepLizCheney said on the eve of a vote by fellow Republicans that’s all but certain to remove her from a party leadership post. “We must speak the truth. Our election was not stolen.”
Watch her speech https://t.co/d2AtAwnNXB pic.twitter.com/dPkI0o6dhf
— Bloomberg Quicktake (@Quicktake) May 12, 2021
The former president has kept up a drumbeat of attacks on Cheney.
“The House GOP has a massive opportunity to upgrade this week from warmonger Liz Cheney to gifted communicator Elise Stefanik,” Trump said in a statement released Monday.
The former president’s intervention shows how he is determined to keep his grip on the party heading into the 2022 midterm elections and beyond, and how willing Republican leaders are to give him that control. He retains a strong hold on a broad swath of Republican voters, and many in the GOP see him as crucial to turning them out on Election Day.
Some of the Republicans who were critical of Trump in the immediate aftermath of the insurrection, including McCarthy, have since backtracked and courted the former president’s support. Among the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump after the riot, only Cheney, has regularly and publicly refuted his assertions that the presidential election had been rigged and warned that he posed a threat to democracy.
The conflict accelerated last week when she tweeted a response to a statement from Trump saying that the election was fraudulent and should be “known as THE BIG LIE!”
Turning that phrase against him, Cheney said: “The 2020 presidential election was not stolen. Anyone who claims it was is spreading THE BIG LIE, turning their back on the rule of law, and poisoning our democratic system.”
Cheney, 54, a daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, was first elected to Wyoming’s sole congressional seat, which was once held by her father, in 2016. Last year, she won the Republican primary with 73% of the vote. Apart from her criticism of Trump, she has been a reliably conservative voice in the chamber.
–With assistance from Daniel Flatley.