Liz Cheney, the courageous Republican who twice impeached ex-President Donald Trump and sits as Vice Chair on the Jan 6 panel hearings on Capitol Hill insurrection, may be bruised by the Wyoming defeat to Trump-backed political novice Harriet Hageman, but she is undaunted as she gathers an anti-Trump lobby and even considers a presidential run in 2024.
From the day she lost her lone Wyoming seat in the Republican primaries for the upcoming ballot for the House on November 8, Cheney has begun to position herself as the fulcrum for an anti-Trump lobby in her bid for a longer-term fight with former President.
The question Cheney is confronting today is whether there is an appetite within the Republican Party for a candidate singularly focused on serving as an antagonist for its most popular and dominant figure.
Cheney has begun setting up an apparatus to support and insulate her future political moves — including a potential presidential bid as a Trump foil. Cheney acknowledged on Wednesday morning that she is considering a run for President in 2024, a race that Trump is largely expected to enter soon.
“It is something I’m thinking about, and I’ll make a decision in the coming months,” Cheney said on NBC’s ‘Today’ on Wednesday.
Cheney’s advisors told CNN that she intends to wait until next year to make any decisions, when she’s no longer in Congress or serving as vice chair of the House select committee investigating the events surrounding January 6, 2021. She is cognizant of appearing to politicize the findings of the committee.
Cheney finds that rare spotlight as vice chair of the Congressional committee before Americans which other Republicans struggle to find. Cheney would confront the same challenge when she demits office in January, and a presidential candidacy could be the only way to address it, say media reports.
The three-term Congresswoman has acknowledged in recent days that she knew her strategy in the Wyoming primary, where she maintained a relentless focus on Trump in interviews and television ads despite the former President having won the state by 43 percentage points in 2020.
She polled far less than Hageman who got 66 per cent in the primaries of the party nomination.
Cheney knew the odds were stacked against her in Wyoming when she chose to reject a strategy of cozying up to the most popular figure in her party (Trump) and “parroting his lies about fraud in the 2020 election”.
“That path would’ve required that I accept, that I embrace, that I perpetuate the Big Lie,” she said on NBC.
She also acknowledged that moving the GOP away from Trump’s influence would be a longer-term project.
“Look, I think the Republican Party today is in very bad shape, and I think we have a tremendous amount of work to do. I think it could take several election cycles. But the country has got to have a Republican Party that’s actually based on substance, based on principles,” Cheney said.
“Abraham Lincoln was defeated in elections for the Senate and House before he won the most important election of all,” she said.
In the 2024 presidential election, Democrats could be facing an uncompetitive nominating contest with President Joe Biden on the ballot seeking a second term — a prospect that could create space for more party-switching. “Let us resolve that we will stand together — Republicans, Democrats and independents — against those who would destroy our republic,” Cheney said in her Tuesday night speech.
Biden called Cheney following her primary loss, according to a person familiar with the matter who declined to divulge the contents of the conversation, according to some media reports.
Cheyney has been kicked to the curb by Wyoming Republican voters, and her next chapter – to rid the Republican Party of Trump and his acolytes – promises to be even tougher.