"The oath that I took to the Constitution compelled me to vote for impeachment and ... it doesn't bend to political pressure," Cheney told Fox News' Chris Wallace

By Virginia Chamlee
February 09, 2021 02:32 PM
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Liz Cheney
Liz Cheney
| Credit: Tom Williams/getty

Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney — who was censured by her home state's GOP following her vote to impeach Donald Trump — says she will not step down from her leadership role in the Republican Party despite calls from some fellow conservatives that she do so.

"I think people all across Wyoming understand and recognize that our most important duty is to the Constitution. And as I've explained and will continue to explain to supporters all across the state and voters all across the state, the oath that I took to the Constitution compelled me to vote for impeachment and it doesn't bend to partisanship. It doesn't bend to political pressure," Cheney, 54, told host Chris Wallace in an appearance on Fox News Sunday. "It's the most important oath that we take."

The interview was Cheney's first since her vote to impeach former President Trump on one charge of "incitement of insurrection" following the deadly Jan. 6 coup attempt at the U.S. Capitol by throngs of Trump supporters. Five people died, including a Capitol Police officer.

Cheney, the chair of the House Republican Conference and the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, told Wallace on Sunday that Trump had "for months leading up to Jan. 6 spread the notion that the election had been stolen or that the election was rigged."

The idea that it had been stolen was, Rep. Cheney said, "a lie and people need to understand that."

She continued: "We need to make sure that we as Republicans are the party of truth, that we are being honest about what really did happen in 2020, so we actually have a chance to win in 2022 and win the White House back in 2024."

Despite his influence, Trump — who remains robustly popular with the core conservative base — should not be the face of the Republican Party, Cheney argued.

"Somebody who has provoked an attack on the United States capital to prevent the counting of electoral votes, which resulted in five people dying, who refused to stand up immediately when he was asked and stop the violence, that — that is a person who does not have a role as a leader of our party going forward," Cheney said on Fox News Sunday.

President Trump Campaigns For Republican Senate Candidates Loeffler And Perdue
Donald Trump
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Cheney previously said Trump's role in inciting the mob was clear.

"Much more will become clear in coming days and weeks, but what we know now is enough," Cheney said in a statement prior to the impeachment vote. "The President of the United States summoned this mob, assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack. Everything that followed was his doing. None of this would have happened without the President." 

"The President could have immediately and forcefully intervened to stop the violence. He did not. There has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution," Cheney continued. "I will vote to impeach the President."

On Jan. 13, Trump was impeached by the House of Representatives for the second time, with 10 Republicans joining the Democratic majority. It was the most impeachment votes against a president by members of his own party.

Though some Republicans lambasted Cheney for the decision, attempts to strip her of her leadership status failed after a vote by House Republicans last week actually showed overwhelming support for her among the conference.

Speaking to reporters after the vote, Cheney said Republicans were "not going to be divided and ... not going to be in a situation where people can pick off any member of leadership."

The party has faced other fissures post-Trump, including how to handle controversial freshman lawmaker Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia. Greene has spoken approvingly of various incendiary conspiracy theories.

Over the weekend, Wyoming's GOP central committee voted to censure Cheney, accusing her of casting her vote in favor of impeachment despite Trump receiving no "due process."

capitol coup
Riots at the U.S. Capitol building on Jan. 6
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In a rally held prior to the Capitol attack last month, Trump urged a large group of supporters to march to the Capitol and "fight like Hell" to overturn the results of the election he lost to Joe Biden, arguing that lawmakers who "aren't any good, the Liz Cheneys of the world" should be rejected.

While Trump also told attendees to be peaceful and patriotic, he later praised the rioters on social media as "very special."

Speaking about how Trump has changed the Republican Party, Cheney told Wallace on Sunday that "we've had a situation where President Trump claimed for months that the election was stolen and that apparently set about to do everything he could to steal it himself, and that ended up in an attack on the Capitol. Five people killed that day. That's the kind of attack that can never happen again."

She continued: "Our institutions held, but we all have an obligation to make sure that they continue to do so and don't look past what happened on January 6th."

Trump's Senate trial for the impeachment charge begins Tuesday but, according to Cheney, that trial will be but a mere "snapshot."

"There's a massive criminal investigation underway," Cheney told Wallace. "There will be a massive criminal investigation of everything that happened on January 6th and in the days before. People will want to know exactly what the president was doing ... There are a lot of questions that have to be answered and there will be many, many criminal investigations looking at every aspect of this and everyone who was involved, as there should be."