U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) said the discord in the wake of the 2020 election and events of Jan. 6 took her back to another inauguration day.
She recalled being on the platform in January 2001 watching her father, Vice President Dick Cheney, and President George W. Bush, standing in front of the crowds of inauguration day. In an interview at the Cody Enterprise office on Thursday, she said seeing Vice President Al Gore standing in recognition of his opponent’s victory after a disputed election lifted her spirit.
“It made me feel very proud to be an American,” she said. “This is an amazing thing. We just had this 37-day battle about Florida basically, and it was very hard fought and Al Gore lost, conceded, and here we all are, here he is, participating in the peaceful transfer of power to his political adversary. That’s what America is, that’s how we survive.”
She’s still willing to talk about former President Donald Trump’s stolen election claims and the events of Jan. 6, despite being ousted from her position as head of the House Republican Conference for her continued stance on the matter.
“One of the things that’s been disappointing to me is there haven’t been more people willing to stand up for these issues,” she said. “When you are elected and when you are sworn into office, it carries responsibilities and obligations with it. Defending the foundations of how our democracy functions is certainly the most important of those.”
She said the events of Jan. 6 also reminded her of a more somber day that took place later in 2001 – Sept. 11. On KODI Radio Thursday, she mentioned how the sight of former Vice President Mike Pence and his family being ushered into a secure bunker during the Capitol riots reminded her of when her father was ushered into a secure bunker below the White House on Sept. 11.
“I think, as Americans, we all owe a great deal of gratitude to Mike Pence,” she said.
Now, in the wake of her denunciation of President Trump’s claims of a stolen election and subsequent ouster from GOP leadership, Cheney said she’s focusing on the issues.
Cheney was in Cody as part of a trip across the state during a congressional recess. She said it’s not uncommon for her to use a break to travel the state and receive updates on how industries, residents and local governments are doing. She’s been to the Jonah Oil Fields near Pinedale to witness their drone technology and was headed to Lovell after her Thursday stops in Cody.
This time, Cheney said, it was also important to explain her decision to vote to impeach President Donald Trump for his role in the January riot.
“I owe my constituents the truth,” she said. “People in Wyoming expect you’re going to look them in the eye and tell them the truth. And we’re in a place we’re in as a country that we really haven’t been before, certainly not in recent memory. We have policies, really good policies, but there were fundamental violations of the Constitution that you can’t overlook. It really does test the system.”
She is also focused on defending many of the former President’s policies and is working to both push through conservative legislation and help restore Republican majorities in congress.
“We should be looking at what we can do to win an election while rebuilding the party,” she said. “It’s recognizing the good policies of President Trump, but making sure we hold people accountable for their actions.”
She’s disappointed more Republicans have not joined her in the pursuit, but meanwhile she said she’s also working to advance conservative priorities.
Cheney is trying to bring moderate Democratic lawmakers to Wyoming to show them the importance and effectiveness of the oil and gas industry in the state.
“I want to show people about the reality of the fossil fuel industry,” she said. “We need to help get the word out about the utility of fossil fuels, and how devastating (President Joe) Biden’s policies have been.”
Cheney said she’s concerned about a number of Biden’s policies, from driving up inflation with billion-dollar spending bills to advancing an infrastructure bill in which she’s concerned support and incentives for carbon capture will be dropped.
Recently, she also spoke out about some Democrat representatives criticizing Israel and defending Hamas during the recent fighting.
“We need to stand with Israel and Hamas has to be defeated,” she said.
She’s also concerned with the toxicity in Washington, D.C. and in seeing some legislators on both sides go more firmly to the left and right.
“We need to get people back on substance,” she said. “There are things that bind us together.”
Substance, she said, is what she’s running on in the 2022 election for Wyoming’s lone U.S. House seat. It’s a seat she has won handily in recent years, but one she expects to fight hard for this time – more like her first run – as more than a half-dozen opponents have signed up to run against her since her vote to impeach.
“I don’t know what we’ll see yet from President Trump,” she said. “I would anticipate he’ll probably pick somebody to back and clear the field. I think the choice for the people of Wyoming in that case is going to be casting a vote for somebody who has defended the Constitution and fought for Wyoming and who you can count on to do that, or somebody whose sort of been handpicked by Trump and has pledged loyalty to Trump. And I think it’ll be a race that has really high stakes, and a race that a lot of people all over the country will be watching.”