Cheney, a staunch conservative who voted with Trump more than 90 percent of time during his tenure as president, has emerged as one of the former president’s harshest critics since his supporters attacked the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. The Wyoming lawmaker voted along with nine other House Republicans and Democrats to impeach Trump for inciting the riot, which was an apparent effort to disrupt the formal certification of President Joe Biden‘s Electoral College victory.
Speaking to to CBS News in an interview broadcast Sunday morning, the GOP congresswoman again condemned Trump and his supporters within her party. Cheney explained that she is confident that the findings of the House select committee investigating the riot, of which she serves as the vice chair, will help Americans realize the “ongoing threat” posed by Trump and his movement.
“You know, we are not in a situation where former President Trump has expressed any sense of remorse about what happened,” she said. “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.”
A preview of the interview first dropped on Friday. Trump spokesperson Liz Harrington told Newsweek in a Friday email that “the biggest crowd in Wyoming history just came out to see President Trump.” Harrington added that the congresswoman “has nothing but contempt for the people, and the people will soon throw her out.”
Whether Cheney will be reelected to another term in Congress remains to be seen. She is facing off in what appears to be a difficult GOP primary against Trump-endorsed candidate Harriet Hageman. The polling that has been publicized for the race shows the Republican incumbent trailing her opponent in the contest.
Cheney was ousted in May 2021 from her role as House Republican Conference chair due to her criticism of Trump, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and other GOP lawmakers that continue to align with the former president. McCarthy has openly opposed her reelection, backing Hageman.
Cheney went on to slam McCarthy in the new interview. The former president officially endorsed the California Republican for reelection on Saturday evening. The Wyoming Republican said she believes the House minority leader sticks with Trump “out of 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 anti-Semitic; he is embracing those in our party who are white nationalists; he is lying about what happened on January 6; and he’s turned his back on the Constitution,” she said.
Cheney also warned that there “is absolutely a cult of personality around Donald Trump” within the GOP.
“We have too many people now in the Republican Party who are not taking their responsibilities seriously and who have pledged their allegiance and loyalty to Donald Trump. I mean, it is fundamentally antithetical, it is contrary to everything conservatives believe, to embrace a personality cult. And yet that is what so many in my party are doing today,” she said.
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