WASHINGTON – Rep. Liz Cheney has recently been reflecting on her great-great-grandfather, a man who fought for the Union in the Civil War, as a House investigative committee January 6, 2021, U.S. Capitol riot prepares to start a listen to prime time his work.
The congresswoman from Wyoming, a member of one of America’s famous political families, is one of only two Republicans in the 1/6 panel, and his deputy. Cheney helped drive Committee investigation in Donald Trump’s relentless efforts to overthrow the 2020 presidential election and has become one of the former president’s harshest critics after a mob of his supporters besieged the Capitol to try to prevent Congress from certifying it Joe Biden’s victory.
Thursday’s televised hearing could be a pivotal moment in her political legacy — and boosting her post-Trump, or possibly, party leader ambitions It’s costing Cheney her job.
“Especially since January 6, I often think of my great-great-grandfather and the Union that he fought to defend,” Cheney said in a recent speech.
“The question for each of us is: will we do our duty in this time of trial?” she asked after receiving one 2022 Profile In Courage Award from the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation in Boston. “Or will we turn from the danger, ignore the threat, and embrace the lies?”
Cheney has not shied away from uphill battles since she was elected to the House of Representatives in 2016 alongside Trump’s own choice, a staunch conservative whose family settled in Wyoming generations ago and who easily won the Republican-leaning western state’s only congressional seat.
In one of her first press conferences with party leaders, former Vice President Dick Cheney’s daughter unabashedly endorsed the improved interrogation techniques he promoted in the post-9/11 era. Many others in Washington had said it was time to end the practice, considering it torture.
Known as an insider with a famous family name, she’s now being thrust onto the national stage at a critical moment. Her unique mission to prevent Trump from ever becoming president again after he peddled false allegations of voter fraud that spurred the attack on the Capitol may be one of her last in Congress.
Barbara Comstock, a former Republican congresswoman from Virginia, said Cheney grew up with principles and the belief that “that’s why you’re in public service, to do the right thing.”
Comstock compared Cheney to Republican Margaret Chase Smith, the US Senator from Maine who opposed Senator Joseph McCarthy and the GOP over unsubstantiated allegations and slander against Americans whose lives were turned upside down after being labeled communists .
“History has a way of clarifying this, and I think Liz gets that,” Comstock said.
Booted by Republicans from her No. 3 position on the House GOP leadership to join Committee 1/6, Cheney now faces the full force of the Trump wing of the Republican Party apparatus trying to remove her from office , by supporting a main opponent. Wyoming is heavily Republican-leaning and almost guarantees that the winner of the party’s August primary will win November’s general election.
Trump is campaigning against Cheney the way he did it the 10th house Republicans who joined Democrats to impeach him over the insurgency – the only president to have been impeached twice.
The former president recently arrived in Wyoming and packed the Casper convention center to rally in support of Harriet Hageman, the fiery attorney and party leader who is challenging Cheney.
“The people of Wyoming will vote to dump this woman, Liz Cheney,” Trump predicted.
As Trump went through a list of grievances about those disloyal to him, he said that “the underhanded RINO Republicans” — an acronym for “Republicans in Name Only” — were worse than his Democratic political opponents, citing Cheney as one of them.
Other Republicans have followed Trump’s lead. House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy working on it Stay close to Trump As Republicans seek to wrest control of the House from Democrats in the midterm elections, she has eschewed the congressional tradition of supporting incumbent peers, instead supporting Hageman and sending her campaign money.
“You have a congresswoman obsessed with attacking President Donald J. Trump,” McCarthy, who hopes to become the next House Speaker, said in a video address to the rally crowd.
James King, a professor of political science at the University of Wyoming, said he has never seen a serious challenge for an incumbent member of Congress in the state in his 30 years as an observer of local politics.
“It’s an unusual situation, but the last year and a half has been an unusual situation,” King said.
He said he wasn’t sure if the televised Jan. 6 hearings would harm Cheney or help him stay home.
“I think most people will have made up their minds — they’ve either decided that Cheney is a traitor to what they voted for in 2020, or they stand behind Cheney in the search for the truth behind the events of January 6th.” , he said.
Still, other notable Republicans, including Republican Senate Chairman Mitch McConnell, have tacitly supported Cheney’s campaign.
Strategists see a path for Cheney’s re-election by drafting a coalition of moderate Republicans and crossover Democrats eligible to vote in the GOP primary after the state government resisted Trump’s push to tighten the rules.
That Republican Party in Wyoming has become more extreme, and its leader, Frank Eathorne, has been seen in pictures by those outside the Capitol during the riot.
“We’re sick of Liz Cheney,” Hageman said at the rally.
After the long attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6, Congress reconvened that night to pick up where it left off — and confirm the election results presented by the states.
Cheney said she walked through the building into Statuary Hall, the historic room full of police officers in tactical gear “who sat on the floor and leaned against the statues, exhausted from the brutal hand-to-hand combat they had been engaged in for hours.” “
She went to the next room, the Capitol Rotunda, “guarded by statues of Washington and Jefferson and Lincoln and Grant and Eisenhower and Ford and Reagan.”
Among the huge paintings, she noted, was one showing George Washington resigning his post-Revolutionary War military commission – voluntarily relinquishing his command in a breathtaking act that sets the stage for future presidential tradition.
“And that sacred commitment to defending the peaceful transfer of power has been honored by every American president except one,” she said.
Thinking of her great-great-grandfather, Samuel Fletcher Cheney, she said it was time this generation “put aside partisan warfare and stand together to perpetuate and preserve our great republic.”
For full coverage of the January 6 hearings, see https://www.apnews.com/capitol-siege
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https://www.local10.com/news/politics/2022/06/08/will-we-do-our-duty-cheney-lays-her-legacy-on-the-line/ ‘Shall we do our duty?’ Cheney jeopardizes her legacy