Facing removal from party leadership, Rep. Liz Cheney doubled down on Wednesday, saying in a Washington Post op-ed that the GOP is at a “turning point” and calling on Republicans to turn away from former President Donald Trump’s rhetoric, which she argued “can provoke violence again.”
“The Republican Party is at a turning point, and Republicans must decide whether we are going to choose truth and fidelity to the Constitution,” the Wyoming Republican wrote in the op-ed. “History is watching. Our children are watching. We must be brave enough to defend the basic principles that underpin and protect our freedom and our democratic process.”
In the op-ed, Cheney made no direct mention of the push in recent days to remove her from her position as House GOP conference chair. Cheney has drawn the ire of many Republicans for continuing to criticize Trump’s baseless claims of election fraud and to defend her vote to certify the 2020 election results.
Facing an uphill battle to stay in leadership, Cheney has not fought to keep her job. A formal vote is expected as early as next Wednesday, with House Republican leaders whipping against Cheney and Trump backing Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) to replace her.
Cheney’s current posture is in stark contrast to her stance earlier this year amid an ultimately failed push to remove her from leadership, when she actively whipped to stay in leadership. Cheney prevailed in February in a 145-61 secret ballot vote, but she faces longer odds this time.
In the op-ed, Cheney slammed Trump and said she would continue to do so “no matter what the short-term political consequences might be.”
“We must be brave enough to defend the basic principles that underpin and protect our freedom and our democratic process,” Cheney wrote.
Cheney has also gotten blowback from the Wyoming GOP, which censured her after she voted to impeach Trump. Republicans bucking Trump have often been held to the fire, with Trump still enjoying broad support among GOP voters — 80 percent of Republicans said they viewed him favorably in a recent POLITICO and Morning Consult poll.
In the op-ed, she also called for Republicans to support the Justice Department’s investigations into the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol and renewed her calls for a bipartisan, 9/11-style fact-finding commission with subpoena power and no current members of Congress participating.
She also called on the party to move away from the “dangerous and anti-democratic Trump cult of personality.”
President Ronald Reagan, she wrote, “formed a broad coalition from across the political spectrum to return America to sanity, and we need to do the same now. We know how. But this will not happen if Republicans choose to abandon the rule of law and join Trump’s crusade to undermine the foundation of our democracy and reverse the legal outcome of the last election.”
In the op-ed, Cheney called for Republicans to back “genuinely conservative principles,” arguing for “low taxes,” fiscal conservatism and small government.
“There is much at stake now,” she wrote, “including the ridiculous wokeness of our political rivals, the irrational policies at the border and runaway spending that threatens a return to the catastrophic inflation of the 1970s.”