WASHINGTON — Fresh off her congressional primary loss, Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., said Wednesday that she plans to be part of a bipartisan coalition whose goal is to ensure former President Donald Trump never holds office again.
“I believe that Donald Trump continues to pose a very grave threat and risk to our republic. And I think that defeating him is going to require a broad and united front of Republicans, Democrats and independents, and that’s what I intend to be a part of,” she said in an exclusive interview with Savannah Guthrie on NBC’s “TODAY” show.
She reiterated that she will be doing “whatever it takes” to keep Trump from returning to the Oval Office in future elections.
NBC News projected Tuesday night that Cheney, former chairwoman of the House Republican Conference and a daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, lost her Republican primary to Trump-backed candidate Harriet Hageman.
With 99% of the vote in Wednesday, Hageman led Cheney by about 37 percentage points.
Cheney told “TODAY” from her home in Jackson, Wyoming, that defeating Hageman would have required that she “perpetuate the big lie” that the 2020 presidential election was stolen and that Trump had won it.
Asked if she plans to run for president, she first deflected and argued that the GOP needs to be taken in a different direction. “We’ve now got one major political party, my party, which has really become a cult of personality, and we’ve got to get this party back to a place where we’re embracing the values and the principles on which it was founded,” she said.
Pressed again about whether she’s contemplating running for president, Cheney said, “That’s a decision that I’m going to make in the coming months, and I’m not going to make any announcements here this morning — but it is something that I am thinking about.”
When asked if Democrats should retain control of Congress because of the state of the Republican Party, Cheney suggested that would be preferable over the possibility of election deniers holding office.
“The election deniers right now are Republicans, and I think that it shouldn’t matter what party you are — nobody should be voting for those people supporting them or backing them,” she said.
Cheney said the GOP is “in very bad shape” and “it could take several election cycles” before it’s reformed and detached from Trump and what she said was a cult of personality around the former president. She also denounced the former president for allegedly releasing the names of FBI agents involved in a search of his Mar-a-Lago resort “when he knows that our law enforcement is the target of violence.”
“I am absolutely going to continue this battle,” she said. “It’s the most important thing I’ve ever been involved in, and I think it’s certainly the most important thing, challenge, that our nation has faced in recent history, and maybe since the Civil War. And it’s one that we must win.”
Rebecca Shabad is a politics reporter for NBC News based in Washington.