Cheney's next steps: Expanded political profile, possible support for anti-Trump candidates
Liz Cheney ousted from GOP leadership
Rep. Liz Cheney speaks to press after House Republicans voted her out as Conference Chair.
Rep. Liz Cheney on Wednesday lost her No. 3 position in House Republican leadership.
But that doesn’t seem to be stopping the mission of the three-term conservative congresswoman from Wyoming to “lead the fight” to weaken former President Trump’s firm grip on the GOP.
CHENEY DEFIANT AFTER HOUSE GOP VOTE TO OUST HER FROM LEADERSHIP
Cheney has been cementing plans in recent days for increased travel and media appearances, a source familiar with the lawmaker’s thinking confirmed to Fox News. She spoke with NBC’s “Today” show after the vote and is scheduled to appear on Fox News Channel’s “Special Report” on Thursday at 6 p.m. ET.
Those plans may also include expanding her political operation, which would allow her to endorse and fundraise on behalf of other Republican candidates who agree with her that Trump is a danger to the GOP.
Cheney was the most high profile of the 10 House Republicans to vote in January to impeach Trump for inciting the deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol by right-wing extremists, intent on disrupting congressional certification of now-President Biden’s Electoral College victory over Trump.
Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., speaks to reporters after House Republicans voted to oust her from her leadership post as chair of the House Republican Conference, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, May 12, 2021.
(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
It wasn’t that long ago that the conservative Cheney, the daughter of former Republican Vice President Dick Cheney, was a rising star in the GOP. But thanks to her impeachment vote over Trump’s role in the storming of the Capitol and her vocal criticism of Trump’s repeated unfounded claims that the 2020 presidential election was “rigged” and “stolen,” she’s become a party pariah and is now at the top of the former president’s list of Republican enemies.
CHENEY FACES SERIOUS CHALLENGES BACK IN WYOMING
Minutes after she was ousted by her Republican colleagues from her House GOP leadership position, Cheney told reporters, “We must go forward based on truth. We cannot both embrace the big lie and embrace the Constitution.”
And she emphasized that the nation “needs a party that is based upon fundamental principles of conservatism. And I am committed and dedicated to ensuring that that’s how this party goes forward and I plan to lead the fight to do that.”
Hours earlier, in a speech from the House floor on Tuesday night, Cheney stressed that “remaining silent and ignoring the lie emboldens the liar. 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.”
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Cheney is also committed to running for reelection next year in Wyoming, where she already faces a growing field of primary challengers aiming to take her out.
A source familiar with Cheney told Fox News last week that “she is running, and she plans on winning” next year.
The former president has repeatedly urged supporters in Wyoming to “get rid” of Cheney “with the next election.”
And last week Trump warned against splitting the anti-Cheney vote, arguing in a statement that “her only chance would be if vast numbers of people run against her which, hopefully, won’t happen.”
The former president’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., called into an anti-Cheney rally in Wyoming earlier this year, emphasizing, “Let’s not split this vote up and blow an opportunity to get rid of a RINO,” which is the acronym for Republican in name only.
A source familiar with Donald Trump Jr. told Fox News that “getting rid of Liz Cheney is right near the top of his 2022 to-do list. You can expect him to be very engaged in that race.”
The elder Trump remains extremely popular with many in the GOP base and his clout over Republican politicians is immense, as the former president aims to play a kingmaker’s role going forward in party politics and as he repeatedly flirts with a 2024 bid to try and return to the White House.
It’s unlikely Cheney will join forces – at this time – with existing groups of current or former Republicans who oppose Trump’s outsized role in the party, noted a source close to the congresswoman’s orbit.
ANTI-TRUMP REPUBLICANS DISCUSS FORMING NEW PARTY
One of those groups is expected to launch a new project on Thursday. Fox News has confirmed that a group of roughly 120 anti-Trump party activists and former GOP officials and politicians will form a committee to endorse and raise money for anti-Trump Republican candidates.
The effort is led by Evan McMullin, a former intelligence officer who ran in 2016 as an independent presidential candidate, and Miles Taylor, who served as chief of staff at the Department of Homeland Security during the Trump administration.
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