Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming, who has been one of the most outspoken Republican critics of the party’s conduct surrounding President Biden’s victory and the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol, defended her views in a pointed opinion essay published by The Washington Post on Wednesday as she faced an increasing likelihood of being ousted from House leadership.
Here are five key arguments from her essay.
Delegitimizing election results violates conservative principles.
“I am a conservative Republican, and the most conservative of conservative values is reverence for the rule of law. Each of us swears an oath before God to uphold our Constitution. The Electoral College has spoken. More than 60 state and federal courts, including multiple Trump-appointed judges, have rejected the former president’s arguments, and refused to overturn election results. That is the rule of law; that is our constitutional system for resolving claims of election fraud.”
Recent behavior by G.O.P. leaders is reminiscent of authoritarian nations.
“I have worked overseas in nations where changes in leadership come only with violence, where democracy takes hold only until the next violent upheaval. America is exceptional because our constitutional system guards against that. At the heart of our republic is a commitment to the peaceful transfer of power among political rivals in accordance with law.”
Republicans should back a 9/11-style commission to investigate the Jan. 6 attack.
“We must support a parallel bipartisan review by a commission with subpoena power to seek and find facts; it will describe for all Americans what happened. This is critical to defeat the misinformation and nonsense circulating in the press and on social media. No currently serving member of Congress — with an eye to the upcoming election cycle — should participate. We should appoint former officials, members of the judiciary and other prominent Americans who can be objective, just as we did after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.”
Continuing to embrace Trump risks “profound long-term damage” to the country.
“While embracing or ignoring Trump’s statements might seem attractive to some for fund-raising and political purposes, that approach will do profound long-term damage to our party and our country. … History is watching. Our children are watching. We must be brave enough to defend the basic principles that underpin and protect our freedom and our democratic process. I am committed to doing that, no matter what the short-term political consequences might be.”
Sticking with Trump may not bring even short-term gains.
“There is much at stake now, including the ridiculous wokeness of our political rivals, the irrational policies at the border and runaway spending that threatens a return to the catastrophic inflation of the 1970s. Reagan formed a broad coalition from across the political spectrum to return America to sanity, and we need to do the same now. We know how. But this will not happen if Republicans choose to abandon the rule of law and join Trump’s crusade to undermine the foundation of our democracy and reverse the legal outcome of the last election.”