Cheney, a leading GOP lawmaker and the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, has drawn the ire of some fellow Republicans for speaking out against Donald Trump

By Sean Neumann
April 27, 2021 02:40 PM
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Liz Cheney
Liz Cheney
| Credit: Tom Williams/getty

Rep. Liz Cheney , who has seen an increased national profile as a Republican critic of Donald Trump, isn't ruling out running for president one day.

"Ever is a long time," Cheney, 54, told The New York Post on Monday.

The Wyoming lawmaker is the third-highest ranking GOP member of the House of Representatives — and the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney — but she has broken with some of her fellow Republicans in sharply criticizing former President Trump's influence on the party.

Cheney was one of 10 Republicans who voted to impeach Trump, 74, after the deadly Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol. 

Her impeachment vote resulted in her own state Republican Party voting to censure her, while she has also drawn the ire of Trump-leaning conservatives at the national level. 

A sweeping New York Times Magazine story published last week described one scene in which Republicans lined up during a meeting to admonish her over her impeachment vote. (Trump was later acquitted for inciting the riot, though the 10 House Republican votes were the most impeachment votes a president has ever received from his own party — and seven GOP senators likewise voted to convict.)

In some instances, according to the Times Magazine, Republican women in Congress said they were "horrified" by their male colleagues' characterizations of Cheney.

One male Republican lawmaker had reportedly complained about her "attitude," while another compared her to a "girlfriend" sitting "on the opposition's side" at a football game. 

Cheney has also been publicly at odds with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who reportedly backed her in staying in her current role after she spoke out against Trump but has more recently suggested she is too far afield.

"There's a responsibility, if you're gonna be in leadership, leaders eat last," McCarthy told Politico this week. "And when leaders try to go out, and not work as one team, it creates difficulties."

Liz Cheney
Liz Cheney
| Credit: Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty

At a Republican Party retreat on Monday, Cheney said she felt Trump was no longer the head of the party — despite his enduring popularity among the base, his fundraising network and many GOP lawmakers still traveling to see him in Florida.

"The Republican Party is headed by Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy in the House," Cheney said. "I think our elected leaders, you know, are the ones who are in charge of the Republican Party."

In an apparent jab at Trump's personality politics, Cheney added that Republicans will "be focused on substance and on the issues" in upcoming 2022 and 2024 elections.

"I think that's where you got to attract back the voters that we lost in 2020, by conveying to them that, in fact, you know, we are the party that they can trust," she said. "We're the party of competence and of conservative principles."

Speaking with Politico, she was even more blunt on what she said were the dangers of not criticizing Trump's evidence-free push to overturn the November election — epitomized by his supporters attacking the Capitol.

"If we minimize what happened on Jan. 6 and if we appease it, then we will be in a situation where every election cycle, you could potentially have another constitutional crisis," Cheney said.

Liz Cheney
Liz Cheney
| Credit: Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty

Cheney also said this week she won't support Trump if he decides to run for president again in. He has teased a possible rerun against President Joe Biden.

While Trump has said it's too soon for him to commit either way, the field of Republicans is likely to include several major names.

Former Vice President Mike Pence is also expected to run, while Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem and former United Nations ambassador and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley are all among the current or former elected officials who are considered potential candidates.

Other Republicans, such as former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, are also hinting at potential bids to succeed Trump as the Republican Party's next nominee.

In a statement on Tuesday, Trump dismissed the idea of Cheney's presidential future in characteristic terms, calling her a "warmongering fool."

"Liz Cheney is polling sooo low in Wyoming, and has sooo little support, even from the Wyoming Republican Party ... there is no way she can win," Trump said. "She'll either be yet another lobbyist or maybe embarrass her family by running for President, in order to save face."