Wyoming’s largest print newspaper described the tensions playing out between former President Donald Trump‘s faction of the GOP and the state’s Republican Representative Liz Cheney as a “proxy war” that may leave behind only “rubble” in its wake.
Cheney, a staunch conservative, has emerged as one of Trump’s strongest critics in the aftermath of the January 6, 2021 attack by his supporters on the U.S. Capitol. The Wyoming lawmaker voted with nine other House Republicans and Democrats to impeach Trump for inciting the violence targeting the federal legislative branch of government.
The GOP congresswoman also serves as the vice chair of the House select committee investigating the January 6 riot, and has repeatedly criticized fellow Republicans who continue to align with Trump. In response, the former president has staunchly opposed Cheney’s reelection and endorsed a Republican primary challenger. Trump surrogates—such as GOP Representative Matt Gaetz of Florida—have traveled to Wyoming to campaign against Cheney as well.
“To supporters of the former president, Cheney is seen as a turncoat who must be punished and thrown out of office. To Trump’s critics, she represents principle over party, someone willing to speak the truth regardless of the consequences. That battle over the future of the Republican Party is playing out within our borders,” the editorial board of Wyoming’s Casper Star-Tribune newspaper wrote in a Sunday article.
The newspaper’s editorial board warned against the outside influence in the state’s politics. It criticized Gaetz for flying to Wyoming to campaign against Cheney, while describing the conflict between Trump and the Republican congresswoman as a “proxy war.”
“Wyoming is now the site of a proxy war between those who support and oppose Trump. During this proxy war, we’ve seen many welcome outside assistance. But it’s critical to ask: Is this all worth it? Is the attention and money and star power really helping Wyoming? In one clear respect, the answer is no. We’re a small state, and one that many others already overlook. It seems foolish to give up our political autonomy,” the editors wrote.
“Those who’ve cheered Matt Gaetz as he told them what’s best for Wyoming are only inviting more Matt Gaetzes to interfere with our politics, and ultimately, the Wyoming way of life,” the wrote.
Comparing the situation to the “proxy wars” fought between the U.S. and the Soviet Union during the Cold War, the editorial board urged readers to “ask the people living in the countries where proxy wars took place whether it was worth it in the end.”
“What you’ll find is when the fighting was over, the money and attention and power disappeared along with the combatants. What they left behind was rubble. Is that really what we want here?” they asked.
In November, the Wyoming Republican Party formally voted to no longer recognize Cheney as a Republican—despite the lawmaker voting with Trump’s policies more than 90 percent of the time. Several counties throughout the western state had previously voted to censure the GOP congresswoman over her opposition to the former president.
Trump endorsed Cheney’s GOP challenger Harriet Hageman in a September 9 statement. Cheney quickly tweeted out a copy of the statement with a brief response. “Here’s a sound bite for you: Bring it,” she wrote.
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