WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Representative Liz Cheney, speaking on the House floor on Tuesday, a day before her expected ouster from a Republican leadership post, chastised her party colleagues for not standing up to former President Donald Trump and his false claim that the November election was stolen.
Cheney, the No. 3 Republican in the House of Representatives, was one of 10 Republicans in the House who voted to impeach Trump in January after he delivered a fiery Jan. 6 speech to supporters, many of whom then stormed the U.S. Capitol in a bid to block certification of his election loss to Democrat Joe Biden.
“Remaining silent and ignoring the lie emboldens the liar. I will not participate in that,” Cheney said Tuesday night.
“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,” she said.
Cheney, the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, is expected to lose a vote on her leadership post called by House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy for Wednesday.
“Millions of Americans have been misled by the former president. They have heard only his words, but not the truth as he continues to undermine our democratic process, sowing seeds of doubt about whether democracy really works at all,” Cheney said.
Most Republican lawmakers, including McCarthy, have sought to placate Trump, who continues to insist falsely that he lost November’s election because of widespread fraud, a claim that has been shot down in multiple courts as well as by state and federal election officials.
“It’s clear that we need to make a change,” McCarthy told his fellow Republicans in a letter announcing Wednesday’s vote. “These internal conflicts need to be resolved, so as to not detract from the efforts of our collective team.”
Representative Elise Stefanik, who rose to prominence within the party by defending Trump at hearings ahead of his first impeachment trial in 2019, is seen as Cheney’s likely replacement and has the backing of McCarthy, House No. 2 Republican Steve Scalise and Trump himself.
(Reporting by Eric Beech; Editing by Leslie Adler)