Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., warned fellow Republicans on Tuesday that American democracy faces a threat it has "never seen before" in a defiant floor speech on the eve of a vote that is expected to result in her removal from the role of House Republican Conference Chair.
Cheney, who lost support from fellow GOP leaders in recent weeks amid a public feud with former President Donald Trump, said her stand was driven by a "reverence for the rule of law." In a scathing six-minute speech, the Wyoming Republican said Trump "risks inciting further violence" and had "misled" millions of Americans with disproven claims that the results of the 2020 presidential election were fraudulent.
"This is not about policy. This is not about partisanship. This is about our duty as Americans," Cheney said. "Remaining silent and ignoring the lie emboldens the liar. I will not participate in that. I will not sit back and watch in silence while others lead our party down a path that abandons the rule of law and joins the former president’s crusade to undermine our democracy."
House Republicans are expected to vote Wednesday to oust Cheney from the party’s No. 3 leadership position and replace her with Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York, a prominent Trump ally. Top Republicans, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Minority Whip Steve Scalise, have expressed support for Stefanik in recent days.
In her floor speech, Cheney warned that efforts to damage confidence in the democratic system would undermine the rule of law at home and hurt America’s standing on the international stage.
"As the party of Reagan, Republicans have championed democracy, won the Cold War and defeated the Soviet communists," Cheney said. "Today, America is on the cusp of another Cold War – this time with communist China. Attacks against our democratic process and the rule of law empower our adversaries and feed communist propaganda that American democracy is a failure. We must speak the truth."
Cheney emerged as one of Trump’s most prominent critics within the GOP following the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol. She was one of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump on a single charge of incitement of insurrection.
The lawmaker’s public feud with Trump raised concerns among House GOP leaders about her ability to serve effectively as conference chair, a position that dictates party messaging, ahead of the crucial 2022 midterm election.