By Jennifer Kocher, County 17
Shelly Horn wants Liz Cheney to know that there are a lot of people back home who aren’t so happy with her right now.
Not only do they feel betrayed by Cheney’s decision to vote to impeach President Trump, Horn noted, but they’re also offended by her explanation that she’d voted with her conscience rather than standing up for the values of Wyoming people.
“She’s not there to act on her own interests,” Horn said. “She’s there to represent the people who voted her into office and pay her salary. I feel like she’s turned her back on us.”
Sitting in a recliner in her living room Wednesday afternoon surrounded by a bevy of television cameras and overhead lights, Horn further explained to CNN correspondent Lucy Kafanov why she had launched the petition to recall the Wyoming Congresswoman earlier this month.
The petition, which has since has since gone viral with just under 55,000 signatures as of early Thursday afternoon, continues to gain steam with nearly 1,000 new signatures every day. This follows calls by fellow Republican House members for Cheney to resign her post as House Republican Conference Chair.
These rebukes come on the heels of a Jan. 27 McLaughlin poll that showed 70% of Wyoming voters believe the impeachment trial was unconstitutional with more than two-thirds of Wyoming voters disproving of Cheney’s actions. Another 63% say they will likely not vote for Cheney again.
Horn is definitely one of these dissatisfied voters, she said. In fact, she was so angry when she’d heard that Cheney was among the throng of representatives pushing for impeachment that something just snapped, she said, and she knew she had to do something to push back.
Prior to this, the 57-year-old Gillette woman and mother of five daughters had an interest in politics nor had she even cast a vote until this past election. This is the first petition she’s ever created and admitted it took some fumbling around on the internet to figure out how to do it.
This is not about Trump, Horn clarified, nor was her goal ever about physically recalling Cheney from office, given that it’s not even legally possible in Wyoming. Rather, Horn wanted to send Cheney a direct message condemning her for what Horn believes was a divisive move that only served to enflame more division and hatred in a country already sorely divided and angry.
“It just sows more hate and division,” Horn said, “and people are tired of it.”
Even she is surprised by how many people have signed on to her petition and how much attention its gotten in both state and local media. She thought maybe she’d get around 1,000 signatures from people in Campbell County, but never imagined she’d end up being interviewed on CNN.
When asked if Horn voted for Trump or Cheney, she said yes to both. She hadn’t voted for Cheney in the primaries, but she did in the general election.
When asked if she thought Cheney had a good argument for impeaching Trump, Horn immediately shuts down any argument that Trump was responsible for inciting the Jan. 6 rioting at the capitol. No, the people who stormed the capitol are responsible for their violence, Horn clarified, and should be held accountable. She feels that too many people like Cheney rushed to judgement against the president before the evidence was even revealed.
In her mind, Cheney’s actions only further divided the country by riling up more vitriol and fanning the flames.
“It’s just sows more hate and division,” Horn said, “and people are tired of it. Our country can’t stand much more.”
She tried to talk directly to Cheney about the petition but said her many calls and emails to her office were never returned, so instead she shared a copy of it on Cheney’s Twitter page, so she could monitor its progress.
“She can’t just run and hide,” Horn said, “She needs to come home and face the voters in Wyoming and explain why she did what she did.”
Along with sending a clear message to Cheney in this interview, Horn said she wants to do her part to put an end to the division and hate and try to unite the country by listening to other people and respecting their differences even if she doesn’t agree.
She laughed about the notion of having CNN reporters in her house for the interview. Luckily, she joked, the three-person team was traveling in an unmarked rental car where none of her neighbors could see a CNN truck parked in front of her house.
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“I think this is the first time I’ve ever had liberals in my house,” Horn laughed, “but heck, I’ll invite anyone in to sit down and share their opinions.”
Nonetheless, she’d been shocked when the CNN producer called, she asked him if this was some kind of joke.
Some of her family and friends thought she was crazy for agreeing to do it, including her daughter who declined to there that day, but Horn shrugged and said she hoped that they wouldn’t twist her words to make her sound like a ‘crazy hick or a Trump cultist or some nonsense.”
In the end, she decided to just be herself and say exactly what was on her mind.
That earned an eyeball from two of Horn’s other daughters, Kamber Beck and Kim Horn, who were watching the interview from the kitchen with Kim’s boyfriend Josh Braband. They know their mother all too well as well as her tendency to say exactly what she’s thinking, no holding back. Kim flinches when she recounts the first time her mom met Josh and commented on how much she hated his flat cap and all his tattoos.
Overall, Horn thought it went really well and the crew seemed super eager to learn more about her life in Wyoming, particularly when they learned she’s in the tutu business, which she makes by hand.
“The producer told me he’d never met anyone who made tutus for a living,” she laughed, “and he was super curious about it.”
So curious that she promised to show them when they got there. For the interview, Horn had even set out a couple child-size mannequins adorned in her sparkly, poofy pink and yellow creations. They don’t even require sewing, Horn told them, and are fun to make. She sells them on internet for $20, or more often than not, just gives them away.
And if nothing else comes out of this petition, Horn said, it has at least made her sit up and pay attention. From now on, she plans to be involved and do her homework. The Biden Administration already has her concerned after its first flurry of executive orders that in her mind aren’t good for Wyoming or the country.
She worries about further hits to the energy industry and the security of her husband’s job supervising oil rigs. Right now, he’s working on a rig in Pennsylvania, where he flies home every two weeks. Prior to that, he’d been tasked with shutting down rigs and laying off workers.
We need politicians to be working right now for the greater good of the country and people, Horn added
“It’s time for this country to heal,” she said, “not open more wounds.”
And though Cheney has likely lost Horn’s vote, Horn nonetheless extended an olive branch and invited Cheney to come to Gillette to hold a town hall for the people, to give Cheney the opportunity to explain why she did what she did and what she’s going to do moving forward.
“Come here and face us,” Horn said. “Don’t just hide and run away.”
For her part, Cheney remains steadfast in her decision to defend the Constitution, which is why she said she voted to impeach.
“I’m honored to represent the people of Wyoming in Congress and will always fight for the issues that matter most to our state,” she wrote in an email to County 17 Thursday. “Foremost among these is the defense of our Constitution and the freedoms it guarantees. Wyoming citizens know that our duty to defend the Constitution is above politics and partisanship.”
The most important part of her job is listening to and speaking with citizens the state, she continued, and stand up for Wyoming.
Her focus right now, she continued, is on the challenges facing the country, primarily combating the disastrous policies of the Biden Administration.
“I look forward to continuing to work with officials and citizens across Wyoming to be the most effective voice and advocate in defense of our families, industries and communities,” she said, not directly commenting on Horn’s petition or her invitation to come to Campbell County.
Meanwhile, Horn headed down to Cheyenne Thursday morning to stand with Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz on the steps of the state capitol to further voice her dissent.
Horn’s interview is tentatively scheduled to air on Erin Burnett OutFront on Thursday evening around 5 p.m., which will also include coverage of Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz’s anti-Cheney protest at the state capitol Thursday.