Liz Cheney is weighing a 2024 presidential bid. Here's how the Wyoming Republican got here.




  • In Politics
  • 2022-08-17 15:36:26Z
  • By USA TODAY
 

WASHINGTON - Rep. Liz Cheney's conservative values and commitment to the Republican Party once garnered high praise from fellow party members and elevated her to the third highest GOP post in the House after just one term.

But since the Wyoming lawmaker embraced the role as former President Donald Trump's loudest critic and most staunch congressional opponent, her party has tirelessly sought to cast her out.

On Tuesday, they somewhat succeeded. Cheney lost the Wyoming GOP primary and her spot as the state's sole House lawmaker to Trump-backed challenger Harriet Hageman, ending her run in Congress. Still, she's not abandoning politics yet, announcing just hours after her loss that she's considering a 2024 presidential run.

Here's a timeline of Cheney's rise and fall from GOP graces.

Takeaways from the Wyoming and Alaska primaries: Takeaways: Cheney loses to Hageman in Wyoming; Alaska's Murkowski and Palin advance to general

Live updates on Cheney: Rep. Liz Cheney, fresh off Wyoming primary loss, says she's considering 2024 presidential run

Cheney, Trump elected

Nov. 8, 2016

Cheney overwhelmingly won Wyoming's only House seat in 2016, the same year Trump was elected. She led Democratic challenger Ryan Greene 62% to 30%, according to the state's official vote tally.

Prior to the 2016 election, Cheney supported the then-Republican presidential nominee. In an August 2016 interview with conservative political commentator Rush Limbaugh, she urged Republicans to "unify behind (Trump)" to defeat Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

Even after Trump's widely criticized comments about grabbing women, Cheney stood behind Trump, saying his comments were appalling but Clinton's actions regarding the handling of her emails were far worse.

Vast support of Trump, despite some criticisms

2017-2021

Throughout Trump's presidency, Cheney largely supported his positions. Almost 93% of the votes the Wyoming lawmaker cast between Trump's inauguration and the end of his term aligned with the former president's position, according to a FiveThirtyEight analysis.

Still, even before the 2020 election and Jan. 6, 2021, Cheney did voice criticisms of the president when she had them, such as when she questioned whether Trump knew about reports of Russian bounties on U.S. troops and offered a veiled criticism on his anti-mask stance.

Those criticisms led to early calls by Freedom Caucus members like Reps. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., and Jim Jordan, R-Ohio for Cheney to be removed from leadership. Despite that, Cheney held onto her post for the time being and the former president still received her 2020 vote - a decision she later said she "regrets."

Cheney votes for Trump, who loses

November 2020

Cheney voted for Trump in the 2020 election, a decisions she'd later tell ABC News she regretted.

Trump lost the election to President Joe Biden, then spread unfounded claims there was mass voter fraud and that the election was stolen from him.

On Jan. 6, Cheney rebukes Trump

Jan. 6, 2021

The same day that a violent mob of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol, their aim to halt the certification of Biden's election win, Cheney offered a blistering rebuke of Trump.

"There is no question that the President formed the mob, the President incited the mob, the President addressed the mob," she said in a statement. "He lit the flame."

Cheney votes with Democrats to impeach Trump

Jan. 12, 2021

Days later, on Jan. 12, 2021, Cheney joined all House Democrats and nine other Republicans in voting to impeach the president on a charge of inciting a riot. It was the most bipartisan impeachment vote in American history.

House Republicans keep Cheney in leadership - for now

Feb. 3, 2021

Cheney survived an effort led by Trump loyalists to remove her as the third highest ranking House Republican. The Republican-only vote on a resolution calling for Cheney to step down, which took place behind closed doors on Feb. 3, 2021, received 145 votes against the resolution and just 61 in favor of it.

Wyoming GOP censures Cheney for impeachment vote

Feb. 6, 2021

A month after the Capitol riot, on Feb. 6, 2021, the Wyoming GOP voted overwhelmingly to censure Cheney for voting to impeach Trump. Just eight of the 74-member Wyoming Republican committee opposed censuring her.

Kevin McCarthy distances himself from Cheney

Feb. 24, 2021

An awkward interaction involving two of the House's top Republicans set into motion Cheney's removal from party leadership.

During a press conference, a reporter asked House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., whether Trump should speak at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference. McCarthy immediately responded that "Yes, he should," the Washington Post reported.

But when the same question was posed to Cheney, she offered a different answer: "That's up to CPAC. I've been clear on my views about President Trump and the extent to which, following Jan. 6, I don't believe that he should be playing a role in the future of the party or the country."

McCarthy quickly ended the press conference, and the next day, took a swipe at Cheney, saying on Fox News that "the idea that a Republican would join with cancel culture is beyond wrong."

'The Big Lie'

May 3, 2021

On May 3, 2021, Trump released a statement via his Save America political action committee doubling down on false claims of election fraud. "The Fraudulent Presidential Election of 2020 will be, from this day forth, known as THE BIG LIE!" the statement read.

Hours later, Cheney attempted to recast the narrative on Twitter: "The 2020 presidential election was not stolen. Anyone who claims it was is spreading THE BIG LIE, turning their back on the rule of law, and poisoning our democratic system."

Two days later, on May 5, 2021, Cheney pleaded with her party in a Washington Post op-ed to condemn the former president and his false claims.

Cheney ousted from leadership

May 12, 2021

On the eve of the vote that would finalize her removal, Cheney took to the House floor to warn that Trump and his GOP allies are threatening to "undermine our democracy."

In a closed-door meeting, House Republicans stripped Cheney of her leadership post, citing her public sparring with Trump as a distraction for the party's efforts to win back the House in 2022. One of Cheney's Republican allies in the House, Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., said that Cheney was ousted by voice vote, not a secret ballot, as caucus rules usually dictate.

She was replaced by Trump ally Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., as the No. 3 House Republican.

Jan. 6 committee established

June 30, 2021

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on June 24, 2021, announced the intent to create a select committee to investigate the Jan. 6 Capitol attack, following a failed effort to create a bipartisan commission.

Pelosi introduced the motion officially on June 28, 2021, and it passed 222-190 on June 30, 2021, almost entirely along party lines. Cheney and Kinzinger voted with Democrats to create the select committee.

Both Cheney and Kinzinger were tapped by Pelosi to join the committee the next day, making them the only Republicans on the panel. Cheney was later selected as the committee's vice chair.

Harriet Hagemen announces Congress bid

Sept. 9, 2021

Harriet Hageman, an attorney and former GOP Wyoming gubernatorial candidate, announced she would challenge Cheney for the state's sole House seat.

"The people of Wyoming deserve leaders who reflect their views and values, but Liz Cheney betrayed us because of her personal war with President Trump, who won Wyoming by massive majorities twice," Hageman said in a statement ahead of her official announcement.

Trump endorsed Hageman the same day, saying in a statement that he "strongly endorses" Hageman in "replacing the Democrats number one provider of sound bites, Liz Cheney." Cheney hit back on Twitter: "Here's a sound bite for you: Bring it."

Wyoming GOP votes to no longer recognize Cheney

Fall 2021

Wyoming voters told USA TODAY in September 2021 they weren't happy with Cheney's prominent role in rebuffing the former president. One Wyoming resident described Cheney's impeachment vote as a "betrayal"; another said she's "not representing the will" of her constituents. Another voter called her "very effective" despite not liking all her policy positions.

On Nov. 16, 2021, the Republican Party of Cheney's home state voted to no longer recognize their sole U.S. House lawmaker as a member of the GOP, a move Cheney's press secretary described at the time as "laughable."

McCarthy endorses Hageman

Feb. 17

McCarthy offered his endorsement for Cheney's primary opponent, an atypical move for a party leader. In a subtle dig at Cheney, thetop House Republican wrote in a statement that "the most successful Representatives in Congress focus on the needs of their constituents."

Jan. 6 hearings put Cheney in spotlight

Summer 2022

Cheney's national star power grew exponentially with the start of the blockbuster Jan. 6 committee hearings of this summer. Her role as vice chair of the committee investigating the Capitol attack placed her as the primary opponent to Trump's false claims of election fraud, oftentimes giving lengthy monologues about democracy and the former president's threat to it.

In her opening remarks to the final Jan. 6 hearing of the summer, Cheney took direct aim at Trump, arguing that despite his own advisors telling him he lost the election, he willfully chose to ignore them.

"The strategy is to blame people his advisers called 'the crazies' for what Donald Trump did," Cheney said during the primetime hearing. "This, of course, is nonsense. President Trump is a 76-year-old man. He is not an impressionable child. Just like everyone else in our country, he is responsible for his own actions and his own choices."

Cheney loses Wyoming primary election

Aug. 16

Cheney did not prevail in the Wyoming GOP primary Tuesday.

Hageman won the primary and is seen as the likely winner of the general election, given the state's consistently conservative slant. Her win was expected, coming days after a University of Wyoming poll showed Cheney trailing by 29 points.

Cheney flirts with presidential run

Aug. 17

Hours after her defeat in the Wyoming GOP primary, Cheney said she's considering a presidential run.

A 2024 campaign "is something I'm thinking about and I'll make a decision in the coming months," Cheney told NBC's "Today" on Wednesday.

In the meantime, the three-term House lawmaker and vice chair of the Jan. 6 committee, said she is focused on "doing whatever it takes to keep Donald Trump out of the Oval Office."

Contributing: Chelsey Cox, Katie Wadington, Associated Press

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Liz Cheney, from Trump backer - then critic - to considering 2024 run

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