Speed Reads

'craven political calculation'

Liz Cheney: Kevin McCarthy has 'turned his back on the Constitution'

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) believes "the majority of Republicans across the country" understand the importance of protecting and defending the Constitution, she said Sunday — and then there's House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).

Cheney, vice chair of the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol attack, told CBS Sunday Morning there are "too many people now in the Republican Party who are not taking their responsibilities seriously, and who have pledged their allegiance and loyalty to [former President] Donald Trump." This, she added, is "fundamentally antithetical, it is contrary to everything conservatives believe, to embrace a personality cult."

Because of her public criticism of Trump, Cheney was voted out of Republican leadership last year, and McCarthy was angry when she joined the Jan. 6 committee. He has ignored a subpoena issued by the panel, and when asked if she thinks McCarthy is afraid of Trump, Cheney told CBS "I think some of it is fear. I think it's also craven political calculation. I think that he has decided that, you know, the most important thing to him is to attempt to be speaker of the House. And therefore he is embracing those in our party who are antisemitic; he is embracing those in our party who are white nationalists; he is lying about what happened on Jan. 6; and he's turned his back on the Constitution."

The Jan. 6 committee is holding its first public hearing since July on Thursday, and Cheney said she is confident Americans will realize that the insurrection is "an ongoing threat." Trump hasn't shown any remorse for what happened on Jan. 6, Cheney added, and "we are in fact in a situation where he continues to use even more extreme language, frankly, than the language that caused the attack. And so, people must pay attention. People must watch, and they must understand how easily our democratic system can unravel if we don't defend it."