By Leo Wolfson, Cowboy State Daily
In a CNN interview on Sunday morning, Wyoming U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney said she will always choose standing up for her principles over making politically-driven decisions to help her get reelected.
“If I have to choose between maintaining a seat in the House of Representatives or protecting the Constitutional Republic and ensuring the American people know the truth about Donald Trump, I’m going to choose the Constitution and the truth every single day,” she said.
This answer came in response to her being asked about the many Republicans, including former President Donald Trump, who are openly opposing her reelection bid against frontrunner challenger Harriet Hageman.
For the last 18 months, no other figure has served a more polarizing role in Wyoming politics than Cheney.
Cheney has never wavered from speaking out against former President Donald Trump since he started making claims the 2020 election was rigged, and she subsequently voted for his impeachment after the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol riot.
That decision sits poorly with many Wyoming Republicans, as does her prominent involvement in the Jan. 6 Committee, charged with investigating Trump’s alleged attempts to overturn the 2020 election and incite the Jan. 6 riot.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that the President of the United States is unfit for further office, that any man who would conduct themselves – or woman who would conduct themselves in the way that he did in attempting to overturn an election and stay in power must never again be anywhere close to the Oval Office,” Cheney said.
Trump won Wyoming in the 2020 election by a larger margin than any other state. Cheney’s decision comes at a time when American politics has likely never been more partisan.
Hageman has continuously supported Trump during her campaign and has earned his endorsement. In May, Trump held a rally in Casper with Hageman featured as one of the keynote speakers.
“Having President Trump come to Wyoming to support my campaign has been a massive boost and I still hear from people every day how excited they were to be able to be there with us (in person or watching on TV),” Hageman said during a June interview. “People miss President Trump’s policies more than ever today because they can see the mess (President) Joe Biden has made.”
Although Hageman has avoided taking a stance regarding what happened on Jan. 6, she has described the Jan. 6 Committee as a “partisan witch hunt.” During a debate in June, she has also mentioned the movie “2000 Mules,” as evidence of why the 2020 elections were faulty.
A recent Casper Star Tribune poll showed Cheney trailing Hageman by 22 points.
In a recent forum held in Evanston, Hageman said if she found out she was trailing Cheney significantly in the polls a week before election day, she would drop out.
Due to possible crossover voting from Democrats and an unquantified but present support base of ‘Never Trumpers’ in the state, the final vote margin could easily be closer than the Casper Star Tribune poll suggests or even swing to Cheney’s favor, but it’s not a good sign for her chances.
According to Cheney on Sunday, none of that matters.
“I’m not going to lie. I’m not going to say things that aren’t true about the election,” Cheney said. “My opponents are doing that certainly simply for the purpose of getting elected.”
Two Hageman advisors, Bill Stepien and Tim Murtaugh, have both spoken before the Jan. 6 Committee. Stepien expressed negative remarks about Trump’s attempt to overturn the election while private text messages were shown of Murtaugh expressing the belief that the riot participants were Trump supporters and that Trump played a role in inciting the riot.
During the interview, Cheney also talked about her experience working on the Jan. 6 Committee and continued to avoid ruling out a possible 2024 presidential run.
“I’ll make a decision about 2024 down the road,” she said. “But I do think, as we look towards the next presidential election, as I said, I believe that our nation stands on the edge of an abyss, and I do believe that we all have to really think very seriously about the dangers we face and the threats we face, and we have to elect serious candidates and we’ve got to elect people who will take their obligations and their oaths seriously and who will deal with issues of substance with respect for people who have disagreements.”
Hageman has outraised Cheney in Wyoming by a significant margin for campaign donations, but Cheney has pulled in a large swath of her campaign backing from out-of-state supporters, including $1.2 million from California and $828,537 from Virginia. These states may give her confidence in her ability to pull delegates from key states nationwide in a potential presidential run, whether or not she wins the current Wyoming House race.
“I’m fighting hard. No matter what happens on August 16th, I’m going to wake up on August 17th and continue to fight hard to ensure Donald Trump is never anywhere close to the Oval Office ever again,” Cheney said.