Speed Reads

Cheney's last stand

Liz Cheney vows not to join Trump's 'crusade to undermine our democracy'

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) gave a defiant speech from the House floor on Tuesday night, saying she will "not sit back and watch in silence" while others lead the Republican Party "down a path that abandons the rule of law" and joins former President Donald Trump's "crusade to undermine our democracy."

Cheney's impassioned remarks come on the eve of a Republican vote on whether to remove her from her position as the House Republican Conference chair. Cheney has been a staunch critic of Trump this year, blasting him for spreading false claims that the 2020 presidential election was rigged and inciting the mob that stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6. Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) is poised to replace Cheney as the No. 3 House Republican; while she has a more moderate voting record than the conservative Cheney, Stefanik is one of Trump's loudest defenders.

"We must speak the truth," Cheney said in her speech. "Our election was not stolen and America has not failed. Every one of us who has sworn the oath must act to prevent the unraveling of our democracy. This is not about policy. This is not about partisanship. This is about our duty as Americans. Remaining silent and ignoring the lie emboldens the liar."

Cheney called out Trump multiple times during her speech, saying he is behind a "threat America has never seen before. A former president, who provoked a violent attack on this Capitol in an effort to steal the election, has resumed his aggressive effort to convince Americans that the election was stolen from him. He risks inciting further violence."

She went on to identify herself as a "conservative Republican," adding that the "most conservative of conservative principles is reverence to the rule of law. The election is over. That is the rule of law. That is our constitutional process. Those who refuse to accept the rulings of our courts are at war with the Constitution."

Cheney delivered her remarks right after several members of the right-wing House Freedom Caucus gave speeches against "cancel culture," CNN reports, and only one Republican, Rep. Ken Buck (Colo.), remained on the floor to listen to her. Catherine Garcia